Epilogue to War by Emanuel Litvinoff

For shame the waters of my sorrow quicken,
My grief hides from discovery.
I am a land of fallen cities, towers
Betrayed to ruin and the thief of time.
And I am dumb of all my voices
Singing the tragic wish away,
And I am blind to all my glory
The crumbled riches of the past proclaim.
For like a trumpeter turned to an echo
The gallant shadow of rny youth turns pale,
Leaving a handful of words like brittle leaves,
The hollow memory of praise.

For shame the melody of love is hushed,
Blood beating the passionate request,
I crush my power and desire
Into a casual phrase, destroy my potency
With passive and resentful living.

For shame my yesterdays grow sour,
Scanning the dust and spittle for a sign
Or symptom of the malady,
Finding only tattered souvenirs of loss
To torment the raw and patient heart.
But underneath the waters of my soul
The drowned and final image of disaster
Recedes to sea and sand, dissolves away,
And all the world’s shame dwindles.

June 1942.

From: Litvinoff, Emanuel, “Epilogue to War” in Poetry (London), Vol. 2, No. 7, 1942, pp. 31-32.
(http://www.modernistmagazines.com/media/pdf/295.pdf)

Date: 1942

By: Emanuel Litvinoff (1915-2011)

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