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To My Neighbor

I lift you higher,
lift you out
of your body cells
stuffed with anxiety
of your past -
an evil load that smells.

I'll fill each cell
with love and joy
that makes the
angels dance.
You'll glide through earthly
filth and stench -
a spiritual trance.

From your youth filled eyes,
your hands
and feet,
a holy peace shall flow,
so you and I
be filled with grace -
let us be still
and know.

William Hermanns


Seelentränen sind Gedichte,
rot mit Herzblut aufgeschrieben,
tiefem Menschenleid zum Ruhm,

Lies sie still in reinem Lichte,
frei von Trieben:
Du betrittst ein Heiligtum.

Wilhelm Hermanns

William Hermanns


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William Hermanns

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                 Prayer for a President

How sad I felt when you confided once,
That as a tot you never owned a toy.
There was not bread enough to go around;
at five you rose, pitched in, an "all jobs boy."
Whose heart would not have prayed: "Oh God set free
this noble boy from his poverty.

You loved the pews. In Sunday school you vowed,
"I'll help the poor and be a friend to a.ll.
I'll tender my left cheek without a grudge
If smitten on the right. It Oh what a call
you had: to be a light for youth, to teach,
Yes, loyal to your folks at home to preach.

But war broke out and one old man looked fierce
from every poster at your virile frame.
You said: "This is my challenge, this my chance.
The cowards at home, I will put to shame.
My heart was heavy; did you not betray
Your mother's hope? How she would weep and pray.

"Too long I tendered my left cheek when smitten
on the right. " you said. "I shall hit first."
An urge to be, swelled your gifted tongue;
But martial glory, did it quench your thirst?
A few pluck fruits of glory from a gun;
In lawyer's gown more quickly they are won.

"Oh God," your mother prayed, "let not the Devil
get him." The Good Book sayst, "I bend the proud like a twig."
Yet have-nots want to have. A childhood, poor,
will make the hands of a boy grow twice as big.
In lawyer's gown you joined him on the right,
a power craze, whose name was nipped by blight.

And when he fell, you, his fine handiwork
craved for the lightning speed of risks. Retreats
marked not your jaw. Your gifted tongue
Knew how to heal the wounds of your defeats.
"A mink coat for my wife I couldn't afford."—
A man who says this cannot cheat or hoard.

Oh power of persuasion! Your virile gait,
Your honest eyes—but had you peace within?
Who dresses cleverness in a moral gown
is split. The fist and pew are not akin.
You used your cleverness to make-your enemies look
perverted—Sundays you would read the Book.

The clever man is rarely a good man.
His ego must come first, his family comes second,
The world itself created to be used.
And to his table only men are beckoned
who please. Good men fall in the trap:
For between clever and good—a covered gap.

American egos rushed to meet your ego;
The church blessed you—so God is on your side.
Oh Democratic wonder: Ecce homo!
And Gold coins rained—what a triumphant ride!
But does God bless an ego's elbow strife
while others feed its pride with limb and life?

Behold this psychic feat of human nature:
A struggling youth craved for security
the toys for grownups: Mink coats and estates.
Would this not set embittered memories free?
You played soon with another toy: the boot—
absolute power, corruption absolute.


If you had favored me to walk the White House lawn
with you, I might well have foretold your fall
For I beheld another's rise to power—
A mighty tongue an outlet for his gall.
In Berlin I witnessed his triumphant ride.
A hapless boy grown up. Was God, too, on his side?

The masses ran to offer him the throne.
So frugal he, meat never touched his tongue.
"Make way for him," so cried his faithful guard.
A savior's path cut through a frenzied throng.
Where truth degenerates, there darkness sweeps
the land. A mother feels it first and weeps.

The Reichstag burned. A Dutch lad planted there
admitted guilt. On trial his speach was muted
by drugs. Another lad of sixteen hauled
Into an embassy to kill; both executed.
Poor mothers who bore them. Führer, your will
Be done! Would an American plant men to kill?

A German jail was emptied. Criminals planted
on German border in Polish uniform
to raid a German town for promised freedom.
Shots silenced them. "We are invaded, storm
the Polish Bastion", I heard the Führer cry.
Could an American mind invent such an atrocious lie?

Goering, Himmler, Goebbels, how they grinned
and how they fed an ego's power craze.
All had a past, all had been nipped by blight.
Morphine, sadism and sex soon set the world ablaze.
The negative in action Is spawned by a darkened mind.
Stalks among us, too, the negative of a Nazi-kind?

The handwriting of old, glowed from the Gates:
"Weighed in the scales, you were found wanting." Loose
broke Hell's old truths; man's conscious intentions lure,
But the unconscious ones carry the noose.
We smashed the Gates and saw it happen here:
Dictators' weapons: Spying, blackmail, bribing, fear.


A solemn question: How many children's bones
Were mangled with the dust of Vietnam?
And mothers' tears—wash they your oonscience clean
or ours? We're guilty too! Your great "I AM"
we made. Let's drink with you the bitter cup:
We trusted you to help us.

Ambition heeds and does prolong
A war if there is something foul that must
be dug under. Ambition removes the truth,
perilously betrays a nation's trust*
What a panoramic view for our eyes.
What records be dug up, before he dies.

You, friend, worship a God, your Sunday image.
Our youth takes notice, turns iconoclast:
"Down with this man and his donation God
of politics," Youth is the stone that once cast
to smash Nebuchadnezzar's image: a blend
Of gold and clay. What was his nation's end?

I once had prayed: "God set the poor lad free
from his poverty." Now I shall pray: "God pull
the purple from his limbs, clothe him with rags.
What character man has is shown in full
Belief when he is with himself alone—
No acting, and no speech outside a groan*

Guilt brings him millions through his book,
When one can publish later what has been,
The dollar flows. "God save America!
Land of the free is not the land of sin.
Vietnam we came! Gooks, creatures second-rate."
But I with Book in hand march through the heavenly gate.

                                                    William Hermanns [P111]

Note:   P111. Prayer for a President; (How sad I felt when you confided once); San Jose; 1972; on President Richard M. Nixon;

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William Hermanns


Published Books

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 for it's webpage:

    Einstein and the Poet - In Search of the Cosmic Man by William Hermanns -  cover
Available at Amazon

Order Kindle e-book

Order Paperback


   The Holocaust - from a Survivor of Verdun by William Hermanns - cover
Inquire on out of print books



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