Winter 1956 • Vol. XVIII No. 1 Poetry |

The Trial

The heads round the table disagree. Some say hang him from the gallows tree. Some say high and some say low to swing, swing, swing, when the free winds blow. I wanted to be myself, no more, so I screwed off the face that I always wore, I pulled out the nails one by one— I'd have given that face to anyone. For those vile features were hardly mine; to wear another's face is a spiritual crime. Why, imagine the night when I would wed to kiss with wrong lips in the bridal bed . . . But now the crowd screams loud in mockery: oh string him up from the gallows tree. Silence! the Judge commands, or I'll clear the Court, to hang a man up is not a sport— though some say high and some say low to swing, swing, swing, when the free winds blow. Prisoner, allow me once more to ask: what did you do with your own pure mask? I told you, your honor, I threw it away, it was only made of skin-coloured clay. A face is a man, a bald juryman cries for one face

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Duality

By Dannie Abse

The heads round the table disagree. Some say hang him from the gallows tree. Some say high and some say low to swing, swing, swing, when the free winds blow. […]

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