Thursday Poem

Freud, 1938, Vienna

“…men are not gentle creatures who want to be loved…; they are
on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is
to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness.”
—Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents

Vienna, 1938, Freud, 82.
Nazis and their allies parade in the streets,
flag after flag and those raised arms,
ceaseless enthusiasm and hatred of the Jews.
Incoherent fury of centuries alive once more.
They called the old analyst’s work
”a pornographic Jewish specialty.”

He’d worked fifty years in the exquisite old city
struggling to free the human spirit.
Lately, he’d become more pessimistic.
Neurosis was the price of civilization.

The Nazis insisted he absolved the police
before they allowed him to leave.
“I can heartily recommend the Gestapo
to anyone,” he wrote.
And the old Jewish pessimist,
leaving Vienna remarked: “Today
they are content with burning
my books. In the Middle Ages
they would have burned me.”

by Lewis Lipsitz