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What If I Were a Shadowless Man?

What if I were a shadowless man,
marvelous work none could see,
no cameras that me could scan,
a hideous sight ‘twould be!

Would you my company try to seek,
or dodge me like a bullet?
Would you consider me a freak,
put away in some closet?

Would you sincerely call me friend,
a bosom friend you cherish,
not me to hide but to defend,
a good friend without blemish?

Would you clothe me in your finest robe
despite my lack of visage,
parade me ‘cross the human globe,
a spectacle with message?

Would you berate my countenance,
not say it is disfigured;
instead, appraise its difference,
of common sense configured?

Would you in ignorance not chide me,
not be unkind in any way,
belittle me to some degree,
but hold me high midst the fray?

What if I were a shadowless man,
an outlander species born,
would you then my company ban,
hold me up to every scorn?

What if I were a shadowless man,
by kith and kin e’er entwined,
tied to your blood since dawn began,
would I be to you enshrined?

About this poem

This poem, “What If I Were a Shadowless Man,” takes its title from the 1813 literary production of Adelbert von Chamisso, French-German writer, botanist, and poet (1781-1837), in a work entitled “The Marvelous History of the Shadowless man.” This current poem employs the title of Chamisso’s nineteenth century work as a point of departure, to encourage its readers to pursue or at least consider an introspective investigation of the social, cultural, political, economic , and psychological underpinnings that, consciously or unconsciously, undergird the collective notion of “Self” and “Other;” how we, made in the image of humankind, regard some among us, as foreigners, strangers, or immigrants, even at times, as foe, distinguishing them from those we esteem and consider as friends, comrades, patriots, or families.  

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Written on November 15, 2021

Submitted by karlcfolkes on November 15, 2021

1:06 min read

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1995 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s “Dear Mili” Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

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    "What If I Were a Shadowless Man?" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 18 Jan. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/114065/what-if-i-were-a-shadowless-man%3F>.

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