The prayerful humanity of Bach,
the soldier ruthless -- I don't know how
to reconcile one with the other
and to the living, where with others
I walk, stunned.
In a cafe music is pouring itself
in joy for itself for anyone to dream
of reconciliation with conflicted life.
Farther down the road an energetic man
is beating his wife.
How to live in confusion
and as skeptic, angry
to have been born to music
and to screams intermingling,
as if -- not one without the other--
to make a whole of it.
© 1995 by David Ignatow
David Ignatow's latest volume, Against the Evidence, Selected Poems: 1934-1994 (Wesleyan University Press) was awarded the Robert Frost Medal and The John Steinbeck Award. "As If" is a part of a manuscript that will be published in 1996 by Wesleyan University Press.