Poetry Archives Bio

Verhandlungsangebot zur Tyrannei

October 24, 1999

Originally, I had meant the title to be "Overture to Tyranny" ("Ouvertüre zur Tyrannei," or, per Martin's suggestion, "Anregung zur Tyrannei") but I now think that the erroneous title that Babelfish had given me ("Negotiation Offer to Tyranny") fits the poem quite well.

The last line is an obvious reference to Pontius Pilate's "ecce homo," establishing an interesting counterpoint to the evil of the man on the stage.

The instruments
      are tuning.
Shuffled talk
      and laughter
      within the
of the chamber.

The actors’


The discord
The violin then
      starts to play,
all joining in:
all mix in
      this prelude—
  and strength.

An ordinary drama—
      some might say,
another boring show
      by our playmeisters

But then,
      the tune
is changed
      the evening
is transformed

The curtain rises
      and the music
Falls down below,
      with it the light.

And then

the scene
      is bright.
The music

All is
for the change

A whisper
fills the space

An actor?     
We have not seen...
...this should be good!

And unsuspectingly

He does not know
     and nor do they
yet he does see

And he is out.

     The stage
is flooded.

He hesitates,
     he stops.
And recollects
     his purpose
     restarts again.

And he is out.
Enter a man.