Richard W. Halperin – Benjamin Britten War Requiem

RWH LE P&W Feb 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing February 2023

Benjamin Britten War Requiem, poems by Richard W. Halperin.

Benjamin Britten War Requiem

Recording, live at Coventry Cathedral
(rebuilt; it had to be rebuilt)
30 May 1962. Harper, Pears,

Fischer-Dieskau. The pity of war.
Not my fault. But how can I
not feel guilty? A testament,

written, played. Heard. Heard
by whom? I have two records
(I still call them records)

which are supreme: this one
and the Klemperer Messiah.
Even if they had never been

performed, even if they had stayed
on Handel’s and Britten’s desks,
Spinoza (so a friend tells me;

I never read Spinoza) would have said
God read them, God heard them.
I once wrote in a poem that God

blubbered at Golgotha, whatever
Jesus is said to have done.
Where is fault? I do not know.

Where is shame? I know where.
In me. And it continues. As I
write this: war. Shown nightly

on television. Between sandwiches.
What is the gravy made of, please?
What is the gravy made of?

© Richard W. Halperin

Richard W. Halperin holds Irish-U.S. nationality and lives in Paris. Since 2010, he has published four collections via Salmon Poetry, Cliffs of Moher. The most recent is Catch Me While You Have the Light, 2018. In complement, he has published sixteen shorter collections via Lapwing, Belfast. The most recent is A Ballet for Martha. In 2023, Salmon will bring out a Selected & New Poems, which will include poems from both publishers.

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