Poetry of Kansas

Let Us Build A Monument

Let us build a monument of stone
And fashion tablets of brass
In lasting memory of the men
Of Nineteen Eighteen.
 
When Shakespeare wrote
A rabble-rousing speech
For the mouth of a Roman demagogue,
He said the memory of men's evil deeds
Lives after them.
But Antony was a spellbinder
And he lied.
We who live in glass houses
Are kind to the dead,
And more kind to the dollars they leave behind,
And kinder yet to the devious ways
Of fortune making.
We "shush" malicious tongues
And envious minds
That dig like ghouls into the rotten past.
Therefore let us build a monument
Of loud and garish brass;
Not to the young men who fight and die:
Their fame is sure;
But to the founders of new
First Families___ ___
The First Families, say, of Nineteen Forty,
To level-headed, practical men,
Cool and enterprising,
Superior to sentimentality.
Unmoved by the mob's hysteria,
They get theirs now;
And shall the hundred million
Who pay daily tribute to them in dollars
Withhold the tribute of a brass tablet?
 
Come, then, let us build a monument,
And on its face cut deep their names,
That our sons and our sons' sons may know.
And above the names
We will engrave these words:
          These are the Men
                    Who Preyed
          Upon Their Country's Need.
Yes, let us build a monument.

__Marco Morrow

Contemporary Kansas Poetry
Helen Rhoda Hoopes
pages 90-91
(Kansas City: Joseph D. Havens Company. 1927)

 
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February 26, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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