Contentment

Sleep fell upon my senses and I dreamed
Long years had circled since my life had fled.
The world was different, and all things seemed
Remote and strange, like noises to the dead.
And one great Voice there was; and something said:
'Posterity is speaking-rightly deemed
Infallible:' and so I gave attention,
Hoping Posterity my name would mention.

'Illustrious Spirit,' said the Voice, 'appear!
While we confirm eternally thy fame,
Before our dread tribunal answer, here,
Why do no statues celebrate thy name,
No monuments thy services proclaim?
Why did not thy contemporaries rear
To thee some schoolhouse or memorial college?
It looks almighty queer, you must acknowledge.'

Up spake I hotly: 'That is where you err!'
But some one thundered in my ear: 'You shan't
Be interrupting these proceedings, sir;
The question was addressed to General Grant.'
Some other things were spoken which I can't
Distinctly now recall, but I infer,
By certain flushings of my cheeks and forehead,
Posterity's environment is torrid.

Then heard I (this was in a dream, remark)
Another Voice, clear, comfortable, strong,
As Grant's great shade, replying from the dark,
Said in a tone that rang the earth along,
And thrilled the senses of the Judges' throng:
'I'd rather you would question why, in park
And street, my monuments were not erected
Than why they were.' Then, waking, I reflected.

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Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. more…

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"Contentment" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 24 May 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/1744/contentment>.

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