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Who Am I?

A poem by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, written whilst imprisoned by the NAZIs during World War II. Bonhoeffer was eventually executed by the NAZIs. This poem was use to great effect in a scene in the film Agent of Grace. If you haven't you should watch it. Let me know what you think :-)

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Who am I? They often tell me I stepped from my cell's confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly, like a squire form his country house.
Who am I? They often tell me I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly, as though it was mine to command.
Who am I? They tell me I bore the days of misfortune
Equably, smilingly, proudly, like one accustomed to win.

Am I really then that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath,

As though hands were compressing my throat, yearning for colours, for flowers, for the voices of birds
Thirsting for kindness, for neighbourliness,
Tossing in expectation of great events,

powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, a thinking, at making,
Faint and ready to say farewell to it all.

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another? Am I both at once?
A hypocrite before others and before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Though knowest, O God, I am thine!

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