Monday, February 1, 2010

"Now in the Hour of Our Death"

"Now in the Hour of Our Death"

And there passed in one flash the end of the world,
and its blue-green skin burst into char,
and its light sweet air turned rank as sulphur;
there even one's own thoughts were a poison,
one's own memory, premeditation,
and one's own cry for help, the sweat of fiends—
and there,

there stood I, the quiet watch of a child
before his abused mother; her limp body
draped over the well-worn ill-crafting hands
of his God-forsaken father, smothered;
and I immolated by thought, anxiety,
emotion, inert gases that rose up
in me.

Her face, bright as dew in day's thirsty light,
arose like fume from her bare tortured corpse,
this time for the last, to smile judgment
upon her idle boy—that flash, that instant!
My hands uncuffed from the pockets, I fell
prostrate and prayed "O forgive me, Mother,"
and wept.

She gave to me in my instant contrite act,
her benediction—my first and last chance
to wield a manly sword, and to do good,
to renounce my father's work, that I might
stare eyes steam-white at the world's final glow,
and, with a blanched clean conscience, have the right
to die.

Audio File - Now in the Hour of Our Death

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