Which man or hero does the goddess praise,
To whom, harsh Clio, do your trumpets rise?
No god, for empty soar the royal skies.
Upon whose mortal image shall we gaze?
Our poets clash each universe in words
A symphony of noise transports the heart.
Yet silent lies that harmonizing art,
Which animates the mountains and the birds.
The sun whose chariot anoints the sky,
The cloak of winter melting into spring,
The rosebuds and the roaring rivers sing,
The lyric Cosmos revels to reply.
Whom first to praise but Progress who appoints
The human will to govern all the earth,
Who, from the very moment of his birth,
Evolves to dignity his bones and joints.
Who grew from ash and dust a universe,
And stirred a soup, the birthing womb of life,
With Chance, his mistress, nay perhaps his wife,
He spins an epic poem, time the verse.
With them shall we sing Liberty and Love,
For any joy we know that it takes two,
The human will, unfettered, sets the true,
With rockets we have cowed the skies above.
I sing of Darwin and of Galilei,
Who loosed the bonds of magic on the mind,
And sought the laws of nature, it to bind.
The superstitious past has passed away.
Their minds released the prisoned will of man,
The flow of human greatness burst the dikes,
No flash of Jove the shrewd inventor strikes,
As ships ply oceans, wings the heavens span.
Now Washington and Jefferson I praise,
The Founder and the peaceful first reform,
Grand Lincoln and Frank Roosevelt adorn,
New Deals and unity from honest Abe.
And with Columbus shall I chant the deeds
Of Carnegie and Custer, brave in heart,
Rags rise to riches, valiant when the dart
Of natives scalped the passion that he bleeds.
We sing of Davy Crockett in the wood,
And Eisenhower, leader of the troops,
The unknown man whose wife’s head ever droops,
And William James, who preached pragmatic good.
Yet fame of pastors blossoms as a tree,
A star from Bethlehem proclaims good news,
A humble God, himself with man to fuse,
To loosen pride and evil’s tyranny.
Oh Son and Savior of all humankind,
Conceived of God, you shall receive the crown,
For on a cross you bled, without renown,
To heal the sick, give vision to the blind.
That man, when he will conquer all the earth
Which threatens Heaven, with a triumph just,
And batter down her hubris to the crust
With penitence and mercy, second birth,
The Cosmos with right order will he judge.
You shake its vast foundations to the core,
You banish those who challenge you in war,
Forgiving penitents, without a grudge.
-Tyler William O’Neil
-February 19, 2010