Separate Way

 

Take no stock in the friendly words of friends,
for in such kindness all their kindness ends;
we go our separate ways to death.

The love of father or of mother knows
the fear of sickness, the need of food and clothes,
but otherwise--we go our separate ways to death.

Kiss after kiss of the head beside you on the cushion,
but faithful only in its fashion--
we go our separate ways to death.

If you would see the phoenix burn
and in the traffic hunt a unicorn,
well, ride the subway till your death
and hold your job till you are out of breath.
We heard your jokes, your storiues, and your songs,
know all of your rights and all your wrongs,
but we are busy with our own affairs.
Sorry? O yes! But after all who cares?
You think that you have something still to say?
Perhaps. But you are growing old, are growing grey.
And we are too.
We'll spare another friendly word for you;
and go our separate ways to death.

 

Return to Separate Way

 

 

Material from
POEMS 1918-1975: THE COMPLETE POEMS OF CHARLES REZNIKOFF Copyright 1977
by Marie Syrkin Reznikoff and reprinted with the permission of Black Sparrow Press.