Famous Poets and Poems:  Home  |  Poets  |  Poem of the Month  |  Poet of the Month  |  Top 50 Poems  |  Famous Quotes  |  Famous Love Poems

Back to main page Search for:

FamousPoetsAndPoems.com / Poets / Philip Levine / Poems
Popular Poets
Langston Hughes

Shel Silverstein

Pablo Neruda

Maya Angelou

Edgar Allan Poe

Robert Frost

Emily Dickinson

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

E. E. Cummings

Walt Whitman

William Wordsworth

Allen Ginsberg

Sylvia Plath

Jack Prelutsky

William Butler Yeats

Thomas Hardy

Robert Hayden

Amy Lowell

Oscar Wilde

Theodore Roethke

All Poets  

See also:

Poets by Nationality

African American Poets

Women Poets

Thematic Poems

Thematic Quotes

Contemporary Poets

Nobel Prize Poets

American Poets

English Poets

Philip Levine Poems
Back to Poems Page
Gangrene by Philip Levine
Vous ĂȘtes sorti sain et sauf des basses
calomnies, vous avey conquis les coeurs.

Zola, J'accuse

One was kicked in the stomach
until he vomited, then
made to put back
into his mouth what they had
brought forth; when he tried to drown
in his own stew
he was recovered. "You are
worse than a nigger or Jew,"

the helmeted one said. "You
are an intellectal.
I hate your brown
skin; it makes me sick." The tall
intense one, his penis wired,
was shocked out of
his senses in three seconds.
Weakened, he watched them install

another battery in
the crude electric device.
The genitals
of a third were beaten with
a short wooden ruler: "Reach
for your black balls.
I'll show you how to make love."
When two of the beaten passed

in the hall they did not know
each other. "His face had turned
into a wound:
the nose was gone, the eyes ground
so far back into the face
they too seemed gone,
the lips, puffed pieces of cracked
blood." None of them was asked

anything. The clerks, the police,
the booted ones, seemed content
to inflict pain,
to make, they said, each instant
memorable and exquisite,
reform the brain
through the senses. "Kiss my boot
and learn the taste of French shit."

Reader, does the heart demand
that you bend to the live wound
as you would bend
to the familiar body
of your beloved, to kiss
the green flower
which blooms always from the ground
human and ripe with terror,

to face with love what we have
made of hatred? We must live
with what we are,
you say, is enough. I
taste death. I am among you
and I accuse
you where, secretly thrilled by
the circus of excrement,

you study my strophes or
yawn into the evening air,
tired, not amused.
Remember what you have said
when from your pacific dream
you awaken
at last, deafened by the scream
of your own stench. You are dead.
View Philip Levine:  Poems | Quotes | Biography | Books

Home   |   About Project   |   Privacy Policy   |   Copyright Notice   |   Links   |   Link to Us   |   Tell a Friend   |   Contact Us
Copyright © 2006 - 2010 Famous Poets And Poems . com. All Rights Reserved.
The Poems and Quotes on this site are the property of their respective authors. All information has been
reproduced here for educational and informational purposes.