December 24, 2003

Behold the man!

Posted at 03:34 AM Gems, Newsgroups, Received

I had just announced my Critical Texts for Critical Times page to the Mark Helprin listserver, not even two weeks after 9-11. A few list members came back with excellent suggestions for additional texts. This one, unfortunately, didn't fit the page.

From: "Keith Morgan" To: [Helprin] Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2001 7:53 AM Subject: Re: [Helprin] Critical Texts for Critical Times

If, in an odd angle of the hutment,
A puppy laps the water from a can
Of flowers, and the drunk sergeant shaving
Whistles O Paradiso!--shall I say that man
Is not as men have said: a wolf to man?

The other murderers troop in yawning;
Three of them play Pitch, one sleeps, and one
Lies counting missions, lies there sweating
Till even his heart beats: One; One; One.
O murderers! . . . Still, this is how it's done:

This is a war . . . But since these play, before they die,
Like puppies with their puppy; since, a man,
I did as these have done, but did not die--
I will content the people as I can
And give up these to them: Behold the man!

I have suffered, in a dream, because of him,
Many things; for this last saviour, man,
I have lied as I lie now. But what is lying?
Men wash their hands, in blood, as best they can:
I find no fault in this just man.

Eighth Air Force
Randall Jarrell


Presently listening to:
When Doves Cry (Acoustic Live) - Barenaked Ladies - acoustic & live december (02:36)


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