Poetry of Kansas

The Man That Looked Like Me

    In the mystical valley of sleep,
I beheld a spectacle vivid and plain,
    A sad vision that made me weep,
A woeful vision that filled me with pain,
    'Twins this that I did see:
    'Twas a man that looked like me.
 
    But a handsomer face than is mine,
And a body more noble in build and size,
    And a bearing far more fine,
Had this man whom I saw with my dream-touch-
        ed eyes;
    Oh, handsomer far was he,
    Was this man that looked like me.
 
    More robust he appeared than am I,
And more graceful of movement and lither of
        limb;
    And I thought of him with a great sigh,
And a downcast heart as I gazed at him.
    Oh, it saddened me deeply to see
    This man that looked like me.
 
    Finer grained of heart and more kind,
More brainy, more given to study and thought,
    More cultured by far, and refined,
Was this double of mine. Ah. my soul was
        fraught
    With sorrow as I did see
    This man that looked like me.
 
    Now, whom in my dream did I see,
So much stronger and greater and better than I,
    Yet looking so much like me,
And making me sad and making me sigh?
    Who was it that I did see
    In this man that looked like me
 
    'Twas the man that I might have been,
If through the years I had done my best,
    And had conquered besetting sin,
And had tried to arise to every test:___
    'Twas this possible self I did see
    In this man that looked like me.
 
    'Twas the man that I might have been!
Is there wonder then that it made me sigh,
    And made me sad within___
To see this one far nobler than I,
    And to know I may never be
    Like this man who looked like me.
 
    Ah, the man that I might have been
Why was it so oft that I failed of my best
    And oft winked at besetting sin?
Why was it that I failed in many a test,
    So that I can never be
    Like this man who looked like me?

___John Edward Everett

Quillings In Verse
John Edward Everett
(Smith Center: ___. 1912)
Pages 77-80

 
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February 3, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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