Lucien Stryk

1924 - 2013 / Poland


All right, let them play with it,
Let them feel all hot and righteous,
Permit them the savage joy of
Deploring my inhumanity,
And above all let them bury
Those hundred thousand once again:
And say this: if Captain X
Has been martyred by the poets,
Does that mean I have to weep
Over his 'moments of madness'?
If he dropped the bomb, and he did,
If I should sympathize, and I do
(I too have counted the corpses),
Has anyone created a plaint
For those who shot from that red sun
Of Nineteen Forty One? Or
Tried to rouse just one of those
Thousand Jonahs sprawled across
The iron-whale bed of Saipan Bay?
I too have counted the corpses
And you, Tom Staines, who got it
Huddled in 'Sweet Lucy' at my side,
I still count yours, regretting
You did not last to taste the
Exultation of learning that
'Perhaps nine out of ten of us'
(I too have counted the corpses)
Would not end up as fertilizer
For next spring's rice crop. I'm no
Schoolboy, but give me a pencil
And a battlefield, and I'll make you
A formula: take one away
From one, and you've got bloody nothing.
I too have counted the corpses.
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