The Shades of Greater Men.


And what shall we say who but keep the publican afloat?

What shall we say who slither home when our work is done, 

to while away our lives in amusement and decay?

What shall we say of men like them?

Who now would charge through storms of lead

To topple the machine gun and the order? 

To die in some gutter, and write his epitaph in red.

And what prosperous man would sacrifice his garden to the use of militarized amateurs,

In training for some bloody slog?

Who would house and feed these violent men in the well-dressed rooms of his fathers?

But men like this once walked our streets and cared not for your jibes.

They heeded not the talk and sneer of poets, salesmen and young brides.

But they were slain by foreign shells, and by slow degrees we have also been slain, but not by steel.

We are slain and yet we we tarry. 

Unlike the dead we cling to the world and refuse to bow to nature, to heel. 

Unlike the dead, we walk upright.

Unlike their ghosts, we do not wail.

We do not howl though the moon shines light upon our shame, on manhood failed.

Unlike the dead, yet dead to all that makes a life. 

Dead to all that makes a man.

We are the dead. See how well we endure our sorrow.

We are the herd. Yoke us or we break.
We are the dead. See how we walk.
What shall we say of the glorious dead?Of the shades of greater men.

November 11th, 2015. Hibernia.

*Feature image is the property of Ken Williams of


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