Man of the West

I am only a man, made of dust,
Formed and shaped of common clay.
My appearance and temperament are familiar,
I have no special message to convey.

There is nothing to set me apart
From any other man.
No gifts, no talents, no wisdom,
No special purpose or sacred plan.

Nor have others seen what I could not,
For this blandness is on full display.
Even when I tried to mask it
With the colorful character I played.

For that was not my desire:
To pass through life unseen.
And watching others who found success
Gave my pallor’s shade a sickly green.

Exceptional! I thought. Grand homme
With particular wisdom and ability.
Gentle and kind, his care and love
Were sure signs of his nobility.

From the West I had come,
From a plain and austere land,
But now was traveled East
To become a noted man.

In this task, I could not fail;
I would not bear that thought.
And yet somehow I did;
It all has come to naught.

With all of this, I have come to terms;
I am in the process of resigning
My hopes and dreams and other things
To sweet Lethe’s confining.

Styx and Acheron were a bitter cup
While I held them to my lips;
Eris’ daughter makes a better lover
Than a lonely flagellate’s whips.

After strife, peace; after pain, fugue.
This blessed bliss that unknowingness brings,
Guides a man back from death,
To a life renewed he clings.

But the draught of unremembrance
Is temporary e’en at best,
And the memory of this pain
Takes a cudgel to my chest.

If I must live side by side
With this demon of regret,
I don’t know how to survive–
He’ll hound and kill me yet.

He claws disease-like into my veins,
Slowly releasing his fatal poison.
I know not how to defeat it:
The cure is beyond my horizon.

Sans comprehension, the pain fades away.
Only the divine could establish this new reality.
An angel on wing bears a gift from above,
The salve he brings: humility.

This want of self-import,
This desire of self-glorification–
Oh, to want it no more!
To forsake this damned vocation.

To give up thought of fame and honor,
To complete that task and pass this great test
I need only remember I am no more
Than a simple man of the West.

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