"One clear loser in the hostage crisis is Israel, which has gone down nine points in the ratings"  NBC, June 30, 1985 




"This is the game ..." You draw a diagram.


"First,  a river"‑ ‑a line across the page.   

"On this side lives a husband and wife."

You write (H) and (W) on the bottom half.

"On the other side are her lovers," (L1) and (L2),

who live in view of each other.

(L1) loves (W) madly but (W) is mad for (L2)

who doesn't really care but consents

to sleep with her when she's there.


"There are two ways to cross the river‑ ‑

a bridge and a boat.  The boatman, (B),

for a coin will carry anyone anywhere.

The bridge is free, but from eight at night

until eight A.M. is patrolled by a murderer (M)

who destroys those who try to pass.


"One morning (W) goes to see (L2).

They spend all day in bed.

She is so besotted 

she forgets the time, and it is eight.


"When she runs to (B) she sees

she has left her wallet at home

and asks to owe the money.

(B), a businessman,

does not operate on credit.


"Returning to (L2) she asks

for a small loan, but he‑ ‑reiterating

what he said in the morning‑ ‑shakes his head.

He has no ties to her, except, as she knows,

an indifferent willingness to acquiesce.  Can 

she stay the night, she asks.  He shakes his head.


"(L1) watches her run down his path, desperate,

hysterical.  'If you love me at all, please 

lend me the money for the ride or give me a roof

for the night!'  'Not I‑ ‑who have watched you two all day‑ ‑

in love and pain‑ ‑I will not be further used and wounded.'


"It is bitter cold, and if she sleeps outside

(W) will surely freeze.  Perhaps, she thinks, the

murderer will not come out now.  She tries

the only way left.

When she gets to this point," You draw an (X)

with your pencil half‑way across the bridge, "She is killed.


"Now," you say in triumph, "List

the letters in order of responsibility."




That was years ago and I, a young American, newly wed,

wrote down (W), (at least she should know

to take her purse) then (H), (who could not keep

his wife at home with love, understanding, reason,

who did not go to look for her).


The lovers were somewhere in the middle

but he who loved should have wanted

to save her, had an obligation to that love.


The one who didn't care should 

have cared for self respect.


The boatman‑ ‑can you blame a capitalist?


At the bottom of the list, I wrote (M).


After all, I had been everyone, felt shame

for all of them, except the man on the bridge.