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I'm Still Just a Child

Franz Werfel 1890 (Prague) – 1945 (Manhattan)

O Lord, tear me to pieces.
I'm still just a child.
And dare to sing
And call upon you
And tell you about things:
We are.

I open my mouth
Before you unleash your agonies upon me.
I have my health
And have no idea how old men rust away,
I've never braced myself against the posts
The way women do for hours.

I never push myself through the tired night
Like truly august droshky nags
That long escaped their background,
(Amid that enchanting, dashing sound
Of lady's footsteps and all, something laughs) .
I never pushed myself like hacks trotting on ad infinitum.

I was never the sailor when the oil's extinguished,
When the water rushing in sneers at the sun,
When the distress shot thunders,
When the rocket convulses upward.
I never dropped myself, to make it up to you,
On my knees, Lord, with a last world prayer.
I was never a child crushed in the fabric
Of this miserable time, a little arm all bandaged.
I have never starved inside the asylum,
Don't know how mothers stitch the eyes,
All of you, those who die, I don't know how you die!

But You, Lord, came down for me too.
And you found the thousandfold torments,
You delivered in every woman,
You died in the shit, in every piece of paper,
You were mistreated in every circus seal,
And you were some cavalier to a whore.

Lord, tear me to pieces.
Why this dull, miserable delicacy?
I'm not worth what flowed from your wounds.
Bless me with mortifications, prick after prick.
I want the death of the whole world included.
Lord, tear me to pieces.
Until I'm dead in every shred first,
Worked to death in every dog, every horse,
And dying of thirst, a soldier in the desert,
Until, poor sinner I, painfully tasted the sacrament on my
Till I'm this eaten body stretched out on a bitter bed,
Taking the form that I mocked, courted.

And only when I'm scattered to the wind,
Plunge from each death, from each life,
Then, Lord, torch me in the thorns.
I'm your child.
Then, Word, sizzle skyward, that I can tell I need,
Burn inconsumable through the universe: We are! !

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:55 min read

Franz Werfel

Franz Viktor Werfel was an Austrian-Bohemian novelist, playwright, and poet whose career spanned World War I, the Interwar period, and World War II. more…

All Franz Werfel poems | Franz Werfel Books

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