Be faithful, Go

Go where the others went before to the dark boundary
for the golden fleece of nothingness your last reward

go upright among those who are down on their knees
those with their backs turned those toppled in the dust

you have survived not so that you might live
you have little time you must give testimony

be courageous when reason fails you be courageous
in the final reckoning it is the only thing that counts

and your helpless Anger—may it be like the sea
whenever you hear the voice of the insulted and beaten

may you never be abandoned by your sister Scorn
for informers executioners cowards—they will win
go to your funeral with relief throw a lump of earth
a woodworm will write you a smooth-shaven life

and do not forgive in truth it is not in your power
to forgive in the name of those betrayed at dawn

beware however of overweening pride
examine your fool’s face in the mirror
repeat: I was called—was there no one better than I

beware of dryness of heart love the morning spring
the bird with an unknown name the winter oak
the light on a wall the splendor of the sky
they do not need your warm breath
they are there to say: no one will console you

Keep watch—when a light on a hill gives a sign—rise and go
as long as the blood is still turning the dark star in your breast

repeat humanity’s old incantations fairy tales and legends
for that is how you will attain the good you will not attain
repeat great words repeat them stubbornly
like those who crossed a desert and perished in the sand

for this they will reward you with what they have at hand
with the whip of laughter with murder on a garbage heap

go for only thus will you be admitted to the company of cold skulls
to the company of your forefathers: Gilgamesh Hector Roland
the defenders of the kingdom without bounds and the city of ashes

Be faithful Go