Sunday, December 16, 2012

a poem by Erich Fried, trans. Stuart Hood:

Erich Fried on the pietistic hogwash of Khalil Gibran

Erich Fried:
THE PROPHET (on Khalil Gibran's The Prophet)
      (trans. Stuart Hood)

The prophet said: 
'Only when you drink of silence
will you truly sing
Only when you reach the mountain-top
will you begin to climb
Only when the earth embraces you
will you truly dance'

They made you drink
from the river of silence
but you did not sing
They drove you up
to the highest mountain-top
but you climbed no further
The earth has embraced
your limbs
but you do not dance

The prophet was a false prophet
he erred
or he lied

Those who drowned our dead
did not teach them
to sing
Those who cast down our dead
did not teach them
to climb
Those who bulldozed earth onto our dead
were not their dancing-masters
but their murderers

The murderers will sing
words that have barely changed
to the old tune
The murderers still climb
from peak
to higher peak
The murderers dance over graves
and dungeons

Smilingly the murderers
tolerate the sayings of the prophet
his homilies which still
make everything