Friday, March 19, 2021

William Saroyan: The Beautiful People

You will remember the strange times
When all the world wept
At the sudden unaccountable kindness
Of unknown people, wounding him whom evil
Could not hurt: 
                    the standing out of the way, 
The making room, the letting pass,
The sweet and sudden Christianity,
And the grace not to hinder if not to help
Whom they do not know except as another also here:
Who would himself do every kindness ––
Their kindness throwing him off guard,
Stabbing him with the only weapon
He could not, would not guard against.

At these strange times, not you
But all the world wept. You wept
Int he movies, at the shabby.

Kindness in them more than any kind of cruelty hurts.
Let them intend murder, and you'll pass assassin and thief.
No wound will make you turn.
But them make a way and you will halt.
Let them smile and the stab will be fatal.
You'll drop where you stand. 

When they're beautiful, you may not weep, 
But that sobbing everywhere isn't cinema sound-effect.

William Saroyan

This poem appeared in the May 1941 edition of Poetry

No comments: