In all our sanctuaries we sit at risk

Augustin Doing Life


“Augustin Doing Life” is the title of a poem I wrote eight years ago. The Augustin of the title is Augustin Robespierre, younger brother of the much better known and also more fanatical Maximilien Robespierre, both swept along by the upheavals of the French Revolution, and quite early in their lives, destroyed by them. They were executed together, at Augustin’s insistence. The last two lines of the poem were written by a psychiatric in-patient I worked with in a creative writing workshop. He was struggling with psychosis, seeing with extraordinary and maybe unbearable vividness.

The Italian website Margutte (the picture above is a striking feature on Margutte’s home-page) has just published “Augustin Doing Life,” presenting it with Margutte’s usual elegance. Find the poem here (and also on the right of this home page).