Sunday 25 September 2011

Sunday Poem


The photo of the little Jew in the cap,
Back to the gun held by the Nazi
With splay feet aware of the camera,
The little boy with his hands in the air,
I turn over. I don't want to see it.
As a member of the human race. I am
Civilized. I am happy. I flap the
Newspaper with the picture over
So that when it is picked up to be taken
Down the cellar to be put with the trash
I won't see it. I am sensitive.
The little boy is dead. He went
Through death. The cap is his best one.
He has brown eyes. He does not
Understand. Putting your hands
Up in front of a carbine prevents
The bullet. He is with the others,
Some of them he knows, so
It is all right. I turn
The paper over, the picture face
From Selected Poems by Ralph Gustafson (2001)


Brian Palmu said...

Thanks for this, Carmine.

For those unfamiliar with the original context: this remarkable poem is actually the second part in a nine-entry series called Phases of the Present. The even more remarkable part nine (and last) is Ostinato which acts as an internal, generalized compliment to this one.

These are all contained in the (original) Gustafson book Corners in the Glass, my favourite of all his non-selecteds.

Taymaz Valley said...

Look at it!
Don’t avert your eyes!
Don’t say you weren’t there!
Don’t justify your absence!

You didn’t do anything?
You didn’t try!
You didn’t ignore it? Them?
You still do with your mute tone!

Look at it you Aryan fuck!
Look at it you fucked up poet!
These lines shall not ease you mind!
Your tears shall not wash those images away!