Back to Index

Herman Altman

by Edgar Lee Masters, 1916

Did I follow Truth wherever she led,
 And stand against the whole world for a cause,
 And uphold the weak against the strong?
 If I did I would be remembered among men
 As I was known in life among the people,
 And as I was hated and loved on earth,
 Therefore, build no monument to me,
 And carve no bust for me,
 Lest, though I become not a demi-god,
 The reality of my soul be lost,
 So that thieves and liars,
 Who were my enemies and destroyed me,
 And the children of thieves and liars,
 May claim me and affirm before my bust
 That they stood with me in the days of my defeat.
 Build me no monument
 Lest my memory be perverted to the uses
 Of lying and oppression.
 My lovers and their children must not be dispossessed of me;
 I would be the untarnished possession forever
 Of those for whom I lived.

Published in Spoon River Anthology

Any corrections or public domain poems I should have here? Email me at poems (at) this domain.