Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Poetry That Talks

This one of my favorite poems. I love the way Anthony Hecht uses everyday words and a set rhythm and rhyme scheme to express so chilling a topic. Hecht wrote this poem in reference to Nazi Germany, but for me, it also pertains to the fear, vulnerability, and helplessness so many of us in the United States are feeling since the "election."

It Out-Herods Herod. Pray You, Avoid It.

Tonight my children hunch 
Toward their Western, and are glad   
As, with a Sunday punch, 
The Good casts out the Bad. 

And in their fairy tales 
The warty giant and witch 
Get sealed in doorless jails 
And the match-girl strikes it rich. 

I’ve made myself a drink. 
The giant and witch are set 
To bust out of the clink 
When my children have gone to bed. 

All frequencies are loud 
With signals of despair; 
In flash and morse they crowd   
The rondure of the air. 

For the wicked have grown strong,   
Their numbers mock at death,   
Their cow brings forth its young,   
Their bull engendereth. 

Their very fund of strength,   
Satan, bestrides the globe; 
He stalks its breadth and length   
And finds out even Job. 

Yet by quite other laws 
My children make their case;   
Half God, half Santa Claus,   
But with my voice and face, 

A hero comes to save 
The poorman, beggarman, thief,   
And make the world behave   
And put an end to grief. 

And that their sleep be sound   
I say this childermas 
Who could not, at one time,   
Have saved them from the gas.

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