Monday, June 11, 2012

Whose is this work, called love

Oh, Augustus, it is rather I, or my poem, that is not wor-thy of my friends; yet do not again accuse me of false modesty ..

.. You cannot deny that your plan of destruction is criminal.

That which happens by the command of the gods cannot be criminal.

You are evasive, Virgil; when one is in the wrong he takes refuge in the will of the gods; I for my part have never yet heard of them ordering the destruction of [shared] property.

   eleven stories up
   and you're off
   bounding as al-
   ways on the balls
   of your feet mak-
   ing the crossing
   into your Tenth
   Street life to
   find your band of
   instant comrades
   sworn in fealty
   against a common
   foe that huge
   half hidden world
   of yours I'll
   never know.

   Hearing you it's
   hard to recognize
   that you could be
   adept at dissolu-
   tion. To me your
   husky tones meant
   upland acceptance,
   rooms without
   shame. Please, no
   more visits to 
   the underworld.
   We need you here
   if we're not to
   be phantoms our-

Hermann Broch
The Death of Virgil
Jean Starr Untermeyer, translation
Random House, 1972©

Jonathan Galassi
    A Wave [fragment]
op. cit.