Bosnia Tune

November 20, 1992|By Joseph Brodsky

As you pour yourself a scotch,

crush a roach, or check your watch,

as your hand adjusts your tie,

people die.

In the towns with funny names,

hit by bullets, caught in flames,

by and large not knowing why,

people die.

In small places you don't know

of, yet big for having no

chance to scream or say good-bye,

people die.

People die as you elect

new apostles of neglect,

self-restraint, etc. -- whereby

people die.

Too far off to practice love

for thy neighbor/brother Slav,

where your cherubs dread to fly,

people die.

While the statues disagree,

Cain's version, history

for its fuel tends to buy

those who die.

As you watch the athletes score,

check your latest statement, or

sing your child a lullaby,

people die.Time, whose sharp blood-thirsty quill

parts the killed from those who kill,

will pronounce the latter tribe

as your type.

(Joseph Brodsky won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987.)

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