Friday, April 12, 2013


Primeval Instincts

William Ellery Leonard (1876-1944), "The Wildman," in The Vaunt of Man and Other Poems (New York: B.W. Huebsch, 1912), p. 41:
But still the wildman calls the tameless boy;
Primeval instincts of the cave and tree,
The summons of the years that used to be,
Ages before Achilles fought at Troy,
Calls him abroad to his ancestral joy
With spear and belt and arrow; and he stands
Out on the rocks, and peers with lifted hands
For wolf to flee or wigwam to destroy.

Thus, when I mark in our museums a lance,
A feathered stick, a twisted curio,
I think with pride in my omnipotence:
"I made these things ten thousand years ago,
Where the sun set on plains that now are France,
Upon my ways from Pyrenees to Po."

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