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(1974). In Memory of Sigmund Freud—(D. Sept. 1939). Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 1:3-3.

(1974). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 1:3-3

In Memory of Sigmund Freud—(D. Sept. 1939)

When there are so many we shall have to mourn,

when grief has been made so public, and exposed

to the critique of a whole epoch

the frailty of our conscience and anguish;

of whom shall we speak? For every day they die

among us, those who were doing us some good,

who knew it was never enough but

hoped to improve a little by living.

Such was this doctor: still at eighty he wished

to think of our life from whose unruliness

so many plausible young futures

with threats or flattery ask obedience,

but his wish was denied him: he closed his eyes

upon that last picture, common to us all,

of problems like relatives gathered

puzzled and jealous about our dying.

For about him till the very end were still

those he had studied, the fauna of the night,

and shades that still waited to enter

the bright circle of his recognition

turned elsewhere with their disappointment as he

was taken away from his life interest

to go back to the earth in London,

an important Jew who died in exile.

Only Hate was happy, hoping to augment

his practice now, and his dingy clientele

who think they can be cured by killing

and covering the gardens with ashes.

They are still alive, but in a world he changed

simply by looking back with no false regrets;

all he did was to remember

like the old and be honest like children.

He wasn't clever at all: he merely told

the unhappy Present to recite the Past

like a poetry lesson till sooner

or later it faltered at the line where

long ago the accusations had begun,

and suddenly knew by whom it had been judged,

how rich life had been and how silly,

and was life-forgiven and more humble,

able to approach the Future as a friend

without a wardrobe of excuses, without

a set mask of rectitude or an

embarrassing over-familiar gesture.

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