June 3, 2012

"Michael Kierkegaard" by Hannah Olson

Michael Kierkegaard 1756-1838


Consider my case: a man who as a boy
Tending strangers’ sheep on Jutland Heath,
Hungry, lonely, numbed with cold,
Climbed a hummock and railed at God.

Was this the sin against the Holy Ghost,
To stand on a rock and curse the God
So stone-hearted as to afflict
A child already hungered and a-cold?

The memory of it never left me.
When in later life, God had blessed me--
Or cursed me--with riches, men’s esteem, 
And gifted children, demons lashed my soul.

I thought I’d sinned against the Holy Ghost. 
To stop my children drinking my despair,
I laid on them in their tender years
The strictest laws of piety.

Of my seven heirs, two boys lived. The elder 
Drank the black cup, gave up his bishopric. 
The younger--my Benjamin, my best-beloved--
Was also my Isaac, the one I sacrificed.

As his father I believed myself the cause of Søren’s
Melancholy, and Søren my son believed that he
Was the cause of mine. Melancholy men,
We were laconic. Never talked about it.