"Study to a Large Fortune", c.1500, by Albrecht DürerNot because I love the taste of ash,
and not because I yearn for martyrdom,
and not out of resentment for the times
a delicate and vicious questioner
has asked the origin of my last name.
Not for revenge on children’s ignorance,
not even for the growing sense the world
is turning once again down that dark path
tamped down by time and leading down to doom.
For none of that. For this and only this:
to say for once, for all, that my voice, too,
is part of this five thousand years of song,
debate, and prayer. To say that I am here
because of joy like light sheltered in wings
and gleaming warm. And not in spite of hate.
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