Guest Poet Kenneth E. DeBacker

Who Would Want to be Worshipped by Man?

the eyes of oedipus speak
                many masks removed
morning light arouses those graveside tulips
                no speeches flow from the lips of agememnon

siegfried looks at the glasscine gravatures alone
                gotterdammerung!  gotterdammerung!
his hand passes through the fire
                brunnhilde!  brunnhilde will stir no more
tod gods- he weeps now- tod brunnhilde
                his quest ended but no love to assuage his wounds
in the east a new light awakens the forest life
                he glimpses a new race unburdened with his gods
                laughter is the last music he heard

from the sea and to the sea does he return
                sparrows pluck twigs from his pyre
all lie in the eternal darkness
                no cup was ever found in all the lands
hair whiter than the foaming sea, tainted with his son's blood
                upon his hand rests no ring of fidelity
far from his lands, far from his people
                he lies under the marred waters of his descendents
                no cry of need can return him from his land of sorrow

386 processors and thermonuclear warheads
                niels and albert argued over god's dice
russell and whitehead searched for mathematical purity
                uncle kurt showed them the dirt
from seed to spaling to many branched wonder
                brother watson and brother crick found our chains
particle beam weapons,acquired immune deficiency- this we give our heirs
                all has been reduced to codes and yet-to-be broken
what you or i find will be mute within ourselves
                nothing, nothing to describe communion
                (even lovers are removed from one another by their skin)

                no gods would want to walk this recycled land

May, 1998

Kenneth E. DeBacker's Questions:

Do you think that the span of time is appropiate with the compression of names to represent ideas; i.e., is the origins of the Western world to contemporary times justified by the theme within the poem, and does the structue amplify or hinder in the explication of the theme?

Given the rapidity of technological change do you think that the last stanza is dated due to naming what was cutting edge technology (e.g.,386 processors

Correspond with Kenneth E. DeBacker at
with your ideas about this poem.

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The Albany Poetry Workshop