gershon hepner

Rookie - 10 Points (5 3 38 / leipzig)

Sin's Wages - Poem by gershon hepner

Not hell but heaven is the destination
that’s reached by Goethe’s Faust because sin’s wages
depart from regimented regulation
for those who star in leading role on stages.

Stephen Vizinczey, whose article also inspired my poem “Hypocrisy and Vice, ” is the author of “In Praise of Older Women.” He writes an article about Goethe in the LA Times Book Review, November 12,2000. He says that Goethe’s Faust tells a wickedly false story. Having made a pact with Mephistopheles, Faust takes everything but ends up in heaven. “This notion, ” says Vizinczey, “had more to do with the educated classes’ support for Hitler than all the works of Nietzsche….Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Dr. Faustus’ makes pact with the Devil and in the end is carried off to hell. And that has made a difference for the subsequent development of English and later American literature and perhaps even of politic. Marlowe’s point has become a truism in our culture.” Goethe’s vilest crime was denigrating Heinrich von Kleist, “the young genius whose eight stories say more than in fewer words than any other work in Western literature”. Kleist committed suicide at the age of 34. When Vizinczey was asked whether he would have preferred Goethe to die young rather than survive to ripe old age as a result of his mendacity and hypocrisy he replied: “Well, yes.”


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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 25, 2010

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