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E. A.Robinson: Cassandra

2008.07.05

Edwin Arlington Robinson

(1869-1935)

  

Cassandra

 

I heard  one who  said: „Verily,

         What  word have  I for children here?

Your Dollar is your only Word,

         The wrath of it your only fear.

 

„You build it altars tall enough

         To make you see, but you are blind,

You cannot leave it long enough

         To look before you or behind.

 

„When Reason beckons you  to pause,

         You laugh and say that you know best,

But what it is you  know, you keep

         As dark as ingots in a chest.

 

„You laugh and answer, ’We are young,

         Oh, leave us now, and let us grow,’

Not asking how much more of this

         Will Time endure or Fate bestow.

 

„Because a few complacent years

         Have made your  peril of  your pride,

Think you that you are to go on

         Forever  pampered and untried?

 

„What lost eclipse of history,

         What bivouac of marching stars,

Has given the the sign for you too see

         Millenniums and last great wars?

 

„What unrecorded overthrow

         Of all the world has ever known,

Or ever been, has made itself

         So  plain to you, and you alone?

 

„Your Dollar, Dove, and Eagle make

          A Trinity that even  you

Rate higher than you rate yourselves,

         It pays, it flatters, and it’s new.

 

„And though your very flesh and blood

         Be what your Eagle eats and drinks,

You’ll praise him tor the best of birds,

         Not knowing what the Eagle thinks.

 

„The power is yours, but not the  sight,

         You see not upon what you tread,

You have the ages for your guide,

         But not the wisdom to be led.

 

„Think you tread forever down

         The merciless old verities?

And are you never to have eyes

         To see the world for what it is?

 

„Are you to pay for what you have

         With all you are?” – No other word

We caught, but with a laughing crowd

         Moved on.  None heeded, and few heard.

 

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