Yesterday both of us were alive
Today I am living but you are dead.
The devil in his vilest mood under your own shed
Raised the rusty rod with his bristled hands
And brought it down with all his vulgar might
On your head held high at least once
In defiance to his relentless claim,
In refusal to be blackmailed any more
By those goons growing from strength to strength
For our cowardice and callousness
Or compromises for petty gains.
Didn’t you also turn a deaf ear or a blind eye
To the helpless cry of your neighbor
When it was his turn to suffer alone and die?
However much we may try
To give a lie to this
Can we deny the devil his due
Having patronized and pampered him so long
To defer our individual doom by a day or two
And estopping thereby our very right
Not to gratify his unnatural greed?
Or didn’t we consider it a piece of quixotry
To take a stand sometime somewhere and say,
‘Thus far and no further, come what may?’
Instead we chose the easiest way,
We joined the devil’s band,
We became his banner men.
At your tether’s end
You decided otherwise
And took a stand;
With my seeming strength unlimited
I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t even sell my soul
To see the face which launched a thousand ships
And burnt the topless towers of Ileum.
I have mortgaged myself in perpetuity
Not for immortality from sweet Helen’s kiss
But for mere crumbs
And my bondage is a state as complete as death
Yet I am not dead
It is a kind of stupor, a nightmare.
I cannot raise my paralyzed hand
To give you succor
And my anguished cry
Is muzzled into a whimper.
Yet your shattered skull and battered body
Should not make me cry,
For whosoever loseth his life shall save it
And afraid to lose it I made myself over
To the safe keeping of the devil
And bound to a wheel of fire
My existence I find
Hardly worth anything
For that perhaps I should cry.