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Einstein & Freud & Jack
By Howard Nemerov


Death is a dead, at least that's what Freud said.
Long considering, he finally thought
Life but a detour longer or less long;
Maybe that's why the going gets so rough.
When Einstein wrote to ask him what he thought
Science might do for world peace, Freud wrote back:
Not much. And took the occasion to point out
That science too begins and ends in myth.
His myth was of the sons conspired together
To kill the father and share out his flesh,
Blood, power, women, and the primal guilt
Thereon entailed, which they must strive
Vainly to expiate by sacrifice,
Fixed on all generations since, of sons.
Exiled in London, a surviving Jew,
Freud died of cancer before the war began
That Einstein wrote to Roosevelt about
Advising the research be started that,
Come seven years of dying fathers, dying sons,
In general massacre would end the same.
Einstein. He said that if it were to do
Again, he'd sooner be a plumber. He
Died too. We live on sayings said in myths,
And die of them as well, or ill. That's that,
Of making many books there is no end,
And like it saith in the book before that one,
What God wants, don't you forget it, Jack,
Is your contrite spirit, Jack, your broken heart.

--------

From Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World on Howard Nemerov, who "associates an unknown figure, a sort of everyman, one of us, with two of the greatest instigators of our modernity, whom he links together in their failure to save us from ourselves, to rescue us from historical catastrophe."

Laundries done for the moment, am now tackling the unpacking of souvenirs, brochures, toys, notebooks, decks of cards, binoculars, etc. Tomorrow I go back to work. Am I ready? What do you think?


Spires at Crater Lake, Oregon

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