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  • Writer's pictureBroadway Church

Goodbye to Tolerance

by Denise Levertov


Genial poets, pink-faced   earnest wits— you have given the world   some choice morsels, gobbets of language presented as one presents T-bone steak and Cherries Jubilee.   Goodbye, goodbye,                             I don’t care if I never taste your fine food again,   neutral fellows, seers of every side.   Tolerance, what crimes are committed in your name. And you, good women, bakers of nicest bread,   blood donors. Your crumbs choke me, I would not want a drop of your blood in me, it is pumped   by weak hearts, perfect pulses that never   falter: irresponsive to nightmare reality. It is my brothers, my sisters, whose blood spurts out and stops forever because you choose to believe it is not your business. Goodbye, goodbye, your poems shut their little mouths,   your loaves grow moldy,   a gulf has split                      the ground between us, and you won’t wave, you’re looking another way. We shan’t meet again— unless you leap it, leaving   behind you the cherished   worms of your dispassion,   your pallid ironies, your jovial, murderous,   wry-humored balanced judgment, leap over, un- balanced? ... then how our fanatic tears would flow and mingle   for joy ...

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