The great stone faced
Bushy haired man
Lay rumpled upon his death bed in a Princeton, N.J., hospital.
He had just finished writing his statement marking the anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel.
(Yet another statement)
But this was different
The establishment of a Jewish homeland had become an obsession to him
Ever since those dark days of the Thirties
When the Nazis had confiscated his property
And obliterated his name
He felt his words inadequate
His deeds, insufficient.
Yet one did what little one could
For the wandering pariahs of the earth.
Now in his seventy-seventh year
Awaiting death in the antiseptic, cheerless room
He was listening to a muted Beethoven violin concerto.
He regretted not having played his own violin lately.
Oh, he was an accomplished enough musician,
But a musical genius, never.
Or any other kind of genius for that matter.
Until the age of fifteen, he had proved himself to be a poor student.
His grades in history, geography and the languages were close to failing.
If it had not been for Uncle Jakob,
That dear man who had cajoled and urged him to pursue a career in the sciences and mathematics
He would have left no mark on the world.
Thus upon such happenstance
Was an indifferent scholar transformed into a renowned savant,
Long burdened with the certain knowledge
That without this special status
He would have perished years ago
Obscure and unlamented in a Nazi crematorium.
Had fifty years really passed since he had published the four papers on his Special Theory of Relativity?
The acclaimed formula
That accursed formula
Unloosing upon the world
The dark side of man.
These are thoughts of a doddering old man
Random and disjointed.
He had become a living fossil in his own lifetime.
His Nobel Prize
Which did not once mention the world ''Relativity''
Was by now a half forgotten relic.
He had not published an important paper sinced 1929
And that had not been widely accepted!
He had become a curiosity to Max Burn and those other young Turks
Who had been humoring him.
Oh, yes, humoring him.
Constantly urging him to accept their Quantum Theory.
How could he accept a world based on unpredictability?
Surely there should be as much harmony in nature
As in a Beethoven sonata.
Had he not told Burn that he could ''accept a subtle God
But not a malicious one.''
Yet he had to admit that his own efforts to equate matter and energy into a single formula Had met with repeated failure.
what point in his life
Had he turned from the physical to the metaphysical?
He was now more known for causes than science.
He had become a pamphleteer
A signer of petitions
A writer of statements
A victim of indifference
A target for derision
An object of controversy.
His espousal of a world government had been universally rejected.
His belief in pacifism shaken by Freud's assertion that, ''war was biologically sound.''
The recent death of his wife
And the mental breakdown of his beloved son
Had taken too much out of him.
And now he quietly awaited death
In a cheerless, antiseptic hospital room in Princeton, N.J.
And slowly closed his eyes.