English poetry

Poems in English

The Survivor

The Survivor

I am twenty-four
Led to slaughter
I survived.

The following are empty synonyms:
Man and beast
Love and hate
Friend and foe
Darkness and light.

The way of killing men and beasts is the same
I’ve seen it:
Truckfuls of chopped-up men
Who will not be saved.

Ideas are mere words:
Virtue and crime
Truth and lies
Beauty and ugliness
Courage and cowardice.

Virtue and crime weigh the same
I’ve seen it:
In a man who was both
Criminal and virtuous.

I seek a teacher and a master
May he restore my sight hearing and speech
May he again name objects and ideas
May he separate darkness from light.

I am twenty-four
Led to slaughter
I survived.



Poem The Survivor - Theodore Roethke