I was tall and slim during my lifetime,
Neither bullets nor words had me frightened,
And I shunned dull conventionís embrace,
But now they seem to reckon Iíve died Iím
Fixed and twisted around, buffed and brightened -
An Achilles on a concrete base.
This stone-cold granite flesh I canít shake off,
My Achilles heel I canít wrest free
From this plinth where itís held for all time.
On my iron ribs, too stiff to take off
Hangs a concrete coat, rigid and deathly -
I feel nothing but chills down my spine.
My wide shoulders were a source of pride and
You can check it;
Iíd not known theyíd cut me down to size when
I had pegged it.
But they battered me into a mould as
For a wager
And they forced my broad, uneven shoulders
To be straighter.
When I got myself dearly departed
My relations made haste to have me cloned
So they took a death mask from my face.
And I donít know what fool got them started
But they smoothed my Asiatic cheekbones
Till the plaster retained not a trace.
Iíd not dreamt there could be in existence
Such a fate that I would be enslaved by:
Iím more dead than those who lie beneath -
But the death maskís surface softly glistened
And there blew a boredom cold and grave-like
From my gaping grin without its teeth.
I would never put my hand inside a
Wild beastís jaw;
Those who thought the common rules applied to
Me got what for -
But the undertaker, what a fool, right
In the bathroom,
Sized my mask up with a wooden rule like
In the classroom.
In a year, when the dust had all settled,
As to crown my rehabilitation,
A huge multitude gathered to see
My cast statue made from stone and metal
Be unveiled to songs of jubilation
Played from audio tapes... It was me!
Then above my head there started blaring
Sounds from speakers that shattered the silence
Just as spotlights shot down from the roofs.
And my voice strained and gruff from despairing
Had been changed by means of modern science
To a falsetto pleasant and smooth.
Hidden under the sheet I was dumbstruck
Like all dead souls;
At the same time I yelled like a eunuch
In their lugholes.
When the shroud was removed I was shrunken
- You can check it -
Do I have in this form any function
Now Iíve pegged it?
Remembering the Commendatore
I thought Iíd take some steps of my own and
Make the slabs ring with echoing sound.
People dashed to the backstreets before me
As I ripped out my foot with a groan and
My stone cladding slipped down to the ground.
I was hideous, bare and unsteady
But I busted a gut till I reached out
With my iron arm just as I dived.
When Iíd tumbled down to earth already
Through the torn megaphones I still screeched out:
"Though Iíve fallen it seems Iím alive."
My collapse had left me twisted, mangled
Bent and wounded
But my metal cheekbones, sharply angled,
I could not lie low as if Iíd pegged it
Like they planned it;
No, instead before the crowd I legged it
From the granite.