Look well at this man. Look!
Come up out of your graves, philosophers,
And you who founded churches, and all you
Who for ten thousand years have talked of
For you have something interesting to learn
By looking at this man.
Stand all about, you many-legioned ghosts,
Fill up the desert with your shadowy forms,
And in the vast resounding waste of death,
Watch him while he dies;
He will not notice you…
He waits for death;
He watches it approach;
His little bloodshot eyes can see it bearing
down on every side;
He feels it coming underneath his feet,run-ning, burrowing underneath the ground;
He hears it screaming in the frantic air.
Death that tears the shrieking sky in two,
That suddenly explodes out of the festering bowels of the earth…
You scorned this man.
He was for you an ordinary man.
Some of you pitied him, prayed over his
soul, worried him with stories of Heaven and Hell.
Promised him Heaven if he would be
ashamed of being what he was,
And everlasting sorrow if he died as he had
lived, an ordinary man…
None of you trusted him.
No one of your was his friend…
Go back, poor ghosts. Go back into your graves.
He has no use for you, this nameless man.
Scholars, philosophers, men of God, leave this man alone.
No lamp you lit will show his soul the way;
No name restore his lost identity.
The guns will chant his death march down the world.
The flare of cannon light his dying;
The mute and nameless men beneath his
feet will welcome him beside them in the mud.
Take one last look and leave him standing there,
Unfriended, unrewarded, and unknown.
© Mary Borden