Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chapter One, Stanza One: Babette Deutsch (1936, rev. 1964)

'My uncle always was respected
But his grave illness, I confess,
Is more than could have been expected:
A stroke of genius, nothing less!
He offers all a fine example.
But, God, such boredom who would sample
As day and night to have to sit
Beside a sick-bed -- think of it!
Low cunning must assist devotion
To one who is but half-alive;
You puff his pillow and contrive
Amusement while you mix his potion;
You sigh and think with furrowed brow:
"Why can't the devil take you now?"'