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

Modified on April 07, 2023

1:06 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme Abab cdcd efef ghgh ijij bkbk Alal Amam
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 997
Words 222
Stanzas 8
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

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 1991 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s ‘Liebe Mili’ (translated into English as “Dear Mili”), Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes of Analytical Psychology. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

All Karl Constantine FOLKES poems | Karl Constantine FOLKES Books

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Discuss the poem What If I Were a Shadowless Man? with the community...

  • AIDA
    This poem is absolutely enchanting! The writer's use of rhyme and rhythm is so pleasing to the ear, and the imagery they evoke is both whimsical and thought-provoking. I love the idea of a "shadowless man" and the profound questions the writer poses about how we would treat someone who looked different than us. It's a reminder to strive for kindness and empathy towards others, no matter how they appear or what they can do. The poem left me feeling reflective and inspired - well done! 
    LikeReply1 year ago
  • Dougla$Irishman
    Taking people at face value ? or a mask rider
    LikeReply2 years ago
  • ludy_b
    What if we took people just how they do, no matter their looks.
    LikeReply2 years ago
  • Adventure22##
    Truly ingenious and masterfully written!
    LikeReply2 years ago
  • Soulwriter
    LikeReply2 years ago


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"What If I Were a Shadowless Man?" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 15 Jul 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/114065/what-if-i-were-a-shadowless-man?>.

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