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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


Is the Boat Sinking?

Essay List

The author composed this essay in October 1980 in the midst of the hostage crisis in Iran, while living at Stanford as a Visiting Scholar to the Hoover Institution for War, Revolultion and Peace to possibly include in his book manuscript Vibrations of Heaven and Hell.

To poem: Americana

                                    Is the Boat Sinking?

Someone asked me the other day what if the presidential candidates Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and John Anderson were in a boat in the middle of the ocean and it was sinking, who would be saved. Seeing that I didn't know the answer, he said, "The American people!" This answer reminded me of a remark that Einstein made once, regarding the downfall of the United States: "Everywhere, in the economic as well in the political life, the guiding principle is one of ruthless striving for success at the expense of one's fellow men."

Such ruthless striving is revealed in the competition for grades among university students. A student told me that hk had preferred difficult courses in order to learn. To his dismay he achieved only a C average and is now at a loss to find a job, whereas many others taking easier courses were Immediately given jobs after graduation, because of their higher grade point.

Einstein's vision of the demise of the United States is also borne out by the fact that the average intelligence among the students has decreased twenty percent in the last twenty years due to television and parental neglect. A student of theology told me that eighty percent of his classmates are demoralized often to the point of suicide. I myself can attest to this: A German student, who wanted to spend some three months in Stanford, typed for me in to order, pay for his room and board. One day he said that he did not need to come anymore since he had found a girl friend in a student house to take care of him. That he shared her room did not shock me, although I do not believe that such togetherness furthers the nobility of thought in the student house. What startled me was a conversation of two students who sat beside me at a dinner I was invited to in that house. One young man boasted to his friend, "I slept with ten girls this week, and everyone was different."

With the decay of ethics goes hand in hand the deterioration of health. The food in American universities in general is such a nutritional disaster — sweet, greasy and synthetic — that it caused a dean of a medical school to remark, “I know this, but cannot help it. We have to find room for courses in pacemakers and other electronic devices, so how can we add nutrition courses?” I experienced this medical machine mind when I was admitted to the Stanford hospital for a minor operation a couple of years ago. I was so disturbed by the constant calls for doctors over the loud¬speaker that I couldn't sleep. When I closed the door to my room, the nurse reprimanded me, saying it was against hospital regulations for the door to be closed. By morning I was such a nervous wreck that I told my smiling doctor, “I refuse to be operated upon in this condition. If I suffer a stroke or heart-attack, it's simple for you to write on your report: "Surgery successful, patient dead."

Naturally the American mass-mind, demoralized and sick as it is, can easily be steered into a military mentality, which Bertrand Russell has termed, "trust in the naked power." The daughter of one of the U.S. hostages in Iran told us in the Bechtel International Center Tuesday how she deplores the U.S. foreign policy toward Iran, which " has been pretty ugly from a moral point of view.”

The question may now be asked, how can we regenerate ourselves so that such a joke of the sinking boat becomes meaningless? Einstein said to me shortly before his death that our only hope is to change the heart of man and create a cosmic humanity. We must learn that our only security is our conscience.

To distinguish this "still small voice” from lower influences of the ego or group; we must learn to test the spirits, I present you the poem Americana, inspired by Bertrand Russell's last warning:

No previous age has had as great a need as ours has of men who will proclaim how life should be lived, no matter how loudly the holders of power may howl for death. Never before has all mankind been threatened…. It is your duty - or rather your privilege - to protest in every way likely to be effective. You are likely to suffer by doing so. But even in suffering, you will be able to preserve a deep happiness not open to the prosperous engineers of disaster.
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 Oh you are fine? How nice of you.
And all is fine at home, how nice.
The children fine and sweet and nice,
all functions well like the machine,
And Sundays you kneel in the pew -
God is fine, too.

And our well chosen politician —
how tough his job, how sweet his smiles,
the cocktail parties, airplane trips
and tender-fingered secretaries,
and, above all, his White House vision -
Oh holy mission!

Wave the star-spangled flag, my son,
the school and television teach
you fifty words, more you don't need.
Let three words be your life and soul,
they'll make your heart beat fast, feet run:
"Money, icebox, fun!"

And our American lifestyle, O brother
Suicidal-type behavior smiles,
the President smiles, the surgeon smiles,
the hospital smiles, no more room to die.
The pill smiles, too. Who wants to be a mother?
How we love each other!

Come food-geared tongues, lust evermore.
The time is short, warns your Near-East.
Your black-skinned folks sweat out "How nice!"
Your atom loves the terrorist.
Too long life was your smiling whore:
Justice knocks at your door.

                                    William Hermanns [P306]

Note: This essay was written in Stanford in October 1980 during the hostage crisis in Iran to possibly include in the author's book manuscript Vibrations of Heaven and Hell.  P306. Americana, October 1980, rev. 850629.

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William Hermanns


Published Books

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    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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