The Death Of A Humane Society - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich
It was a morning like any other.
A cloud from the South, a sparrow
sitting on the windowsill, eating,
the Postman, ringing twice next door,
a streetcar of desire screeching to a halt,
and the traffic cop attending to impatience,
and, at rush hour, his recurring boxershort creep.
Across the street the baker was yawning again,
that Yugoslavian woman dumping soapy water
out the window onto the busy sidewalk,
and the paperboy, aged seventy plus, hoarsely,
proclaiming that Nixon was the man to be watched.
From across the barely polluted river of Babylon
came a breeze of air, no not fresh air as such,
it brought with it an invisible cloud of doom,
which settled, like the sticky sugar coating,
applied to a jelly-filled donut, onto the city,
the country, and it swept the world from there,
its humble beginnings notwithstanding.
'Nonobstant' mumbled Monsieur Cazin,
French travel agent, occupying a round kiosk,
no one knew of course what exactly it meant,
and even the French teacher from the school,
he just scratched his head. But he also suspected,
it was more a gut feeling though, that something,
something awfully big was taking place, merde,
it seemed to fit, intuitively, and then, without warning,
time stood still, the earth stopped its rotation,
people's hearts stopped and not a breath was heard.
And when it all started up again, for reasons unknown,
the world as it was known had ceased to exist.
It was the day that claimed the word humane,
with all its meaning and substance, its noblesse.
The death of Humane Medicine was a twin of many
to the tragic loss of all that made us human beings,
not just people, but homo sapiens par excellence.
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