Ovid in the Third Reich
non peccat, quaecumque potest peccasse negare,
solaque famosam culpa professa facit.
Amores, III, xiv
I love my work and my children. God
Is distant, difficult. Things happen.
Too near the ancient troughs of blood
Innocence is no earthly weapon.
I have learned one thing: not to look down
So much upon the damned. They, in their sphere,
Harmonize strangely with the divine
Love. I, in mine, celebrate the love-choir.
Geoffrey Hill, “Ovid in the Third Reich” from New and Collected Poems, 1952-1992. Copyright © 1994 by Geoffrey Hill. Used with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.