Poet, you do not know me.  You may claim
that I’ve no right to criticize your choices—
but you have always owed your worldwide fame
to those who stifled other poets’ voices.
While honest writers were locked up at home,
in the cold loneliness of far-off wastes,
you’ve freely exercised your right to roam—
developed highly continental tastes.
With each internal shakeup, you’d defend
the new regime.  You’re every tyrant’s friend.

Poet, I do not know you.  I’ve no right
to criticize the choices you have made—
but I suspect that sometimes in the night
you shudder at the dreadful price you’ve paid.
Those who survived the terror have returned;
their punishment has ended.  They are free
to go on speaking truth–and we have learned
that you were never what you seemed to be.
Now, every time I hear your golden voice,
I think you knew you had another choice.

© 1991 Dorothy Miller Gutenkauf

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