Frederick Feirstein

Frederick Feirstein is a playwright, poet, screenwriter, and psychoanalyst

A dozen of his plays have been produced in New York and in reps. His best known play is the comedy THE FAMILY CIRCLE which was first produced at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York and then in L.A.and London. It was subsequently published in the Modern Classics Series in London (Davis-Poynter/Harper Collins) representing America. (Sartre’s play represented France and Doris Lessing’s England). He has written three musical dramas and is working on his fourth. THE CHILDREN’S REVOLT, his first, won a Rockefeller OADR Award. Sharon Ott directed it, Greg Sandow wrote the music,and it starred Willem Dafoe. His second MASQUERADE was done at the Playwrights Theater of the Manhattan Theater Club which he started. It won the Audrey Wood Playwriting Award and was directed by Arthur Storch, starring Alec McGowen. His third was UPRISING for which he wrote the book and lyrics.William Harper composed the music. It was performed with a Broadway cast in NewYork City Theater Row. It soon will be done again in Krakow, Poland.


I need His thunderous voice, I need the Cross.
I literally saw devils from my bed
When I was having chemotherapy.
And now I’m scared of aging,
Dry as wren’s bread?

How can you think you just can paint, write,
Fight with your wife, laugh at loss?
Sit with me on this bench.
It’s Mother’s Day. See that nest,
Mom dipping to feed her babies? Life at its best.

“Okay let’s check e-mails. See one from my friend,
Called the ‘Immortal British Knight,’
Writing “Now my daughter is in an urn
Who cares to light a candle in the dark?”
If not in Time we’ll piteously burn.

My doctors call me Job:
“Three nearly fatal diseases?”
More painful though is this depression
Which does with me what it pleases.

These cherry trees are dying fast.
I can’t capture them as once I could.
I know at my age this nakedness can’t last.
But for now my brain is twisted as their wood.

If I could write out this depression,
Rid myself of it with a pill,
What use then my crafty profession,
When I, the doctor, am so ill?

I still help others with their neuroses
Which seem silly next to what I feel:
Dissociated, totally exhausted. God,
These cherry blossoms don’t look real.


She was voluptuous years ago,
Cast manipulative, charismatic.
Her lines were witty and her cat’s smile slow.
In bed she was professionally pneumatic.

The public loved her, though her public’s gone.
She wanders in the rooms of her dementia.
She knew her reputation would live on.
She has no memory. She can’t venture

Out of her house, out of her single bed
She squeezes a pillow between her knees.
In lucid moments, she wishes she was dead
Or purrs her best line: “Some body help me, please!


Saddened by illnesses and nearly broke,
We breathe into each other’s mouth and hug.
Our fifty years was not a cosmic joke.
Strangers holding hands jumped from windows
Fifteen quick years ago,
Leaving orphans, mothers, widows
We know that one of us must go.
Stars and galaxies collide and will collide.
Nature has a rhythm we cannot endure.
It’s silly for us animals to hide
When that blind butcher comes to claim our meat.


The sun is setting. We are still alive,
Although we’re aging in each other’s face.
We know we lack denial, calm, and grace.
Maybe numbing helplessness will survive.

My mother said, “We swore that we would die
On the same day, the same hour, in the same way.
But Time, that bully, said “Love can’t stay
And, though you know the truth, both of you must die.”


We don’t like change, but we are changing fast.
We know that love in Time can’t last.
And yet when we were carefree, always young
No words I spoke to you could not be sung.

Immortal as we were, we’re almost gone.
Although he’ll mourn, as son will will go on
As will his son whose adolescence we won’t see.
How can they age rapidly like you and me?


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