Friday, December 16, 2011

In Memory of Christopher Hitchens

A Worker Reads History by Bertolt Brecht

Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima's houses,
That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
The night the seas rushed in,
The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

Young Alexander conquered India.
He alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Was there not even a cook in his army?
Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet
was sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
Frederick the Great triumphed in the Seven Years War.
Who triumphed with him?

Each page a victory
At whose expense the victory ball?
Every ten years a great man,
Who paid the piper?

So many particulars.
So many questions.
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2 comments:

  1. "Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence."

    C. Hitchens

    ReplyDelete
  2. LA Weekly said about Hitchens: "He appeared equally capable of pissing into your grandmother’s fish tank as beating you at chess..."

    He was an intellect who had power with words that will continue to amaze future generations. Hitchens had no fear of uncomfortable positions or powerful people and he loved to puncture hypocrites. I wonder though the extent of conflict between Christopher Hitchens, the inner man, and Christopher Hitchens, the celebrity.

    His affection for and dedication to strong drink suggest a lack of harmony in his soul.

    ReplyDelete

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