I saw everyone, having fallen short,
on the ground. At last I joined Everyone,
their force being much, and greeted the ground
too. It’s comfortable there. Here. We
have gimmicks to prolong the comfort.
But whose voice have I just heard? Yours? Have
you whispered * . . . get up . . . * ? The voice is faint,
but not intentionally whispering.
Shouting, but from afar? No, that’s not
it, either. Close by, but shouting from
beneath the horde, muffled?! Either you’re
desperate, or a fool. The horde’s safe,
sir! . . . Ma’am? You’re trying to fool me, then,
that you are not human. You’re a spirit? . . .
A poet, then! . . . Same difference? That
may be. I recall being a poet.
Or wanting to be, some day, maybe.
Trying, thinking, caring, wanting The
World to get up. How I would shout. Trying
to be heard. Ball players did get up.
Long jumpers, too, and the like, heard me
and got up. But that’s their job, to jump
up, play again. They’re paid to get up!
But nobody else heard and got up,
as I hear you. Is my name Nobody
now, the poet worse than dead, as I
am, fallen in with Everyone now?
Yes, I am no longer what I am.
Knowing I should shout, but saying No
to shouting. Hearing, seeing, no-ing.
No wings! Yet I feel your flutter, hear:
* . . . get up . . . get up! . . . * and answer, still, * Noooooo! *
I like the comfort, and get on well,
lying, one among the crowd. We like
our eyes closed, ears blocked, lying all day—
above all, our inalienable
right to make you mute, Poet above
us all, to muzzle you. So shout! Write:
The best is less than any of us,
when unheard! One day you’ll agree: It’s best
to fall in line, belong among. You’ll see—
shortly, Poet, after the coming fall. . . .