The absolutely anonymous “DL” writes:
Bienvenue aux etats-unis ou liberation rules, mein liebchen. So generous of you to offer line edits. Here's one that's been bugging me. It comes at the end of the eighth stanza of a nine-stanza poem, and it arrives as a rhetorical climax: "We must love one another or die." It sounds good, I know, but it's untrue -- we're going to die no matter what -- and I have this old-fashioned notion that poetry and truth should go together like wahrheit und dichtung or conjugal love and Alberto Moravia. What should I do? Junk the stanza? Junk the poem? Can you think of a way to save the line? Like maybe changing "or" to "and"? For your muse-inspired vice and advice I thank you in advance of the guard. Ton ami PS How about "the conscious acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder"? That's another line I'm not quite satisfied with. I rejected the idea of modulating from verse to prose dialogue at this point with a hunky gang boss saying, "I don't want my brother coming out of that bathroom with only his dick in his hand."
Dear “DL” (if them's your REAL initials, Bub). I might handle this in a couple of ways. Now, I am assuming you aren’t concerned with meter here, yes? If that's the case then you could extend the line by not even very much and that would take care of your issues of truthiness:
We must love one another else die of it.
We must love one another or die from it.
(Or some variation of the above)
Because: it doesn't negate other ways of dying, nor does it technically suggest that dying is an avoidable event.
Now, if you ARE watching your meter here, you could sneak a wee ‘we’ in there, oui?, and then- VOILA!- you got yourself an alexandrine line:
We must love one another else we die of it.
(Hmmm, though if I were the owner of this line, I might change ‘else’ to ‘lest’ because that further clouds the mystery-- will we die of the loving or of the not loving?)
Also, your own suggestion of ‘and’ ain’t half bad.