The Philosopher’s Stone

Issue OneIssuesPoetry

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By Duncan Richardson


Eager pilgrims seek out the Great Philosopher 1898


Let us go and see Herr Nietzsche

sitting by the window

in his empty chair

his eyes full of rock

and snow in a twist of hair.

His sister Elisabeth bids us closer still

‘He will not bite,” she murmurs.


Already his room is like a museum

and his stillness pre-empts

the art of taxidermy.

His books are dusted daily

and in a mirror I can see

an eagle rising.


In this room years from now

Elisabeth will clasp Herr Hitler’s hand

and grin for the cameras

a dirndl-witch

yet each hand will test for flesh

on the bone of myth..

“Sometimes he knew me, Sir,” she will say.

“As his end came near.  At other times,

              I could not tell

but his weakness let me be so much more

than his secretary.

You will understand that Sir, I’m sure

You see, I have been also a midwife

for Friedrich’s wisdom

and if it pleases you mein Fuhrer

Der Ubermensch must be strong for others

not only for himself.

And his new born words will live

forever in the triumph

of Your Will.


Image by Sebastian Boguszewicz