Many Men

What eyes do peer beyond these walls
Into the caverns of the soul
Where lurk the shades of the multitudes
Swarming beneath the placid face of the "simple" man?
What king presides in the this shadowy land?
What demons drive us relentlessly
To live, to love, to die?

What many names do we possess which never may we divine.
We hide them all behind one mask, a name for us to follow.
But many men (and women too) throng behind the door,
Each waiting in turn to leave their cell and venture to the stage—
The doorman warily guards their cage.

What orb dares to perceive its end,
The cataclysmic aftermath
Of a whole world laid to waste,
The wailing city of kings and thieves,
Of fools and scholars and men of arms,
Of gentle wives and scheming tyrants,
Of ragged beggars and rugged laborers,
Of lazy merchants and pompous dandies,
Of faithful fathers and care-worn mothers,
Each bound to this fragile homestead
And all laid to dust in the death of a man!

George Chadderdon © 1993