For Heinrich Blucher and Hannah Arendt
Composed in the Tower before his execution
These moving verses, and being brought at that time
Painfully to the stake, submitted, declaring thus:
“I implore my God to witness that I have made no crime.”

Nor was he forsaken of courage, but the death was horrible,
The sack of gunpowder failing to ignite.
His legs were blistered sticks on which the black sap
Bubbled and burst as he howled for the Kindly Light.

And that was but one, and by no means one of he worst;
Permitted at least his pitiful dignity;
And such as were by made prayers in the name of Christ,
That shall judge all men, for his soul’s tranquility.

We move now to outside a German wood.
Three men are there commanded to dig a hole
In which the two Jews are ordered to lie down
And be buried alive by the third, who is a Pole.

Not light from the shrine at Weimar beyond the hill
Nor light from heaven appeared. But he did refuse.
A Luger settled back deeply in its glove.
He was ordered to change places with the Jews.

Much casual death had drained away their souls.
The thick dirt mounted toward the quivering chin.
When only the head was exposed the order came
To dig him out again and to get back in.

No light, no light in the blue Polish eye.
When he finished a riding boot packed down the earth.
The Luger hovered lightly in its glove.
He was shot in the belly and in three hours bled to death.

No prayers or incense rose up in those hours
Which grew to be years, and every day came mute
Ghosts from the ovens, sifting through crisp air,
And settled upon his eyes in a black soot.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Anthony Hecht's poem More Light! More Light!

4 Comments

  1. Sima says:

    The first three stanzas telll us of man’s cruelty toward man in tiem when man was religious but the last stanzas of the poem tells of his cruelty toward others When God Is Dead.
    Man needs a new philosophy to guide him and to save him so the poet asks for more light.
    In the first stanza the fire that was once a holy thing, and is still holy in some religions, is the source of pain rather than the source of warmth and life. Once Prometheus robbed from the gods and brought it back to man and was punished for doing so, but during the middle ages man used it to take life’s back. What is above all shocking is that the man is tortured under the name of saviour.

  2. erdim koc says:

    I thought that the idea was that hope did not help him, faith did not help because no kind light came, and that the last stanza confirms that lack of hope. I thought the poems title asking for light was an echo of his plea.

  3. ramazan guzel says:

    Even though he does not tell us whose execution it is, he gives many clues to make inferences. Main idea is is in the last stanza :))))

  4. semra says:

    this poem takes two different stories as basis. both stories include cruelty and unfair judgement of people throughout the history. hecht does not tell us whose execution it is because there were millions of people like him, he wants to generalize the topic.
    the title of the poem was the last words uttered by Goethe before his death. when the people executed in this poem they have pitiful dignity. this means they have dignitiy but because of the situation it is pitiful. also goethe had this pitiful dignity. he worked until the moment of his death. because of this parellesism the title was chosen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Anthony Hecht better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.