Seventy-seven betrayers will stand by the road,
And those who love you will be few but stronger.
Seventy-seven betrayers, skilful and various,
But do not fear them: they are unimportant.
You must learn soon, soon, that despite Judas
The great betrayals are impersonal
(Though many would be Judas, having the will
And the capacity, but few the courage).
You must learn soon, soon, that even love
Can be no shield against the abstract demons:
Time, cold and fire, and the law of pain,
The law of things falling, and the law of forgetting.
The messengers, of faces and names known
Or of forms familiar, are innocent.
Hyam Plutzik, Copyright ©️ 1987 by the Estate of Hyam Plutzik.