And I Alone Have Come Back to Tell Theelisten to this poem
There was no explosion and no collapsed mine.
There is nothing you can do that has not been done.
I have your signature. Your friends lined the curb
and lowered their eyes as you passed.
Listen to yourself rasp, your lungs a tattered blanket.
All confessions have been taped. There is no proof
that you are sick and no remedy but removal
of the offending eye, ear, and tongue.
Put your teeth in your pocket and wipe clean
your face. Of all the bones in the human body, none
of yours will remain unbroken. You will tell me the truth
and I will beat you until you lie. Please resist.
It makes the job so much more interesting.
* * *
I am the only voice you can hold to. Don’t struggle.
Instead, you must forget. When you have not seen light
for days, when you cannot sleep because you cannot sit,
cannot stand the face barking into you when you doze,
when you feel sure death has come smiling for you,
when from the next room you hear pleas for mercy
in your lover’s voice and cannot raise a hand
but lie calmly on your narrow wooden bunk,
you will know you have forgotten what it means to live.
When they tell you to go, you will go. I tell you this
so you do not despair when you fall to your knees
and are embraced by the earth, as though you never left.
In What Mode Faith Should Be Kept by Princeslisten to this poem
The Prince, Chapter XVIII
Except for the deaths of [Longfellow’s] two wives and an infant daughter, there were few outward checks to a life of long and easy success, of calm industry, happy friendships and prosperity.
—Thomas Byrom, from the introduction to Longfellow Poems
It makes sense. The sun rises
without guarantee. There is no promise
in sleep but an innocence
we’re never witness to.
I am my own skeleton,
the fading lace of my daughter’s skin.
Each morning I see her, my eyes closed,
unwilling to break the air. Have faith
that absence is simply death
to all expectation. I cut flowers
to save them from the bees.
This is power.