Sympathy of Peoples

By Robert Fitzgerald 1910–1985 Robert Fitzgerald
No but come closer. Come a little   
Closer. Let the wall-eyed hornyhanded   
Panhandler hit you for a dime
Sir and shiver. Snow like this
Drives its pelting shadows over Bremen,   
Over sad Louvain and the eastern   
Marshes, the black wold. It sighs
Into the cold sea of the north,
That vast contemptuous revery between   
Antiquity and you. Turn up your collar,   
Pull your hatbrim down. Commune   
Briefly with your ignorant heart
For those bewildered raging children   
Europe surrenders her old gentry to.

All their eyes turn in the night from   
Your fretfulness and forgetfulness,   
Your talk; they turn away, friend.
Their eyes dilated with dreams of power   
Fix on the image of the mob wet   
With blood scaling the gates of order.   
Anarchist and incendiary
Caesar bind that brotherhood
To use and crush the civil guard,   
Debauch the debauché, level
Tenement and court with soaring   
Sideslipping squadrons and hard regiments,   
Stripped for the smoking levée of the   
Howitzer, thunderstruck under the net.

The great mouth of hunger closes
On swineherd and princess, on the air   
Of jongleur and forest bell; Grendel   
Swims from the foul deep again.   
Deputy, cartelist, academician
Question in haste any plumeless captain   
Before the peremptory descent   
Of mankind, flattered and proud.   
With whitening morning on the waste   
You may discern through binoculars   
A long line of the shawled and frozen,   
Moving yet motionless, as if those   
Were populations whom the sun failed   
And the malicious moon enchanted   
To wander and be still forever   
The prey of wolves and bestial mazes.

Robert Fitzgerald, “Sympathy of Peoples” from Spring Shade: Poems 1931-1970. Copyright © 1969 by Robert Fitzgerald. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Spring Shade: Poems 1931-1970 (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1971)

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Poet Robert Fitzgerald 1910–1985

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Time & Brevity, Nature, Living, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Landscapes & Pastorals

 Robert  Fitzgerald

Biography

Robert Fitzgerald (1910 - 1985) was born in Springfield, Illinois, and attended Harvard University, where he received an excellent education in the classics. After college, he started to translate Greek poetry to keep up his skills. They were published and soon earned him the reputation as one of the best Greek translators in English. Though more known for his translations, Fitzgerald is also a poet in his own right. In poems . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Nature, Living, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Landscapes & Pastorals

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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