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The Last Man

Ambrose Bierce 1842 (Meigs County) – 1914 (Chihuahua)

I dreamed that Gabriel took his horn
On Resurrection's fateful morn,
And lighting upon Laurel Hill
Blew long, blew loud, blew high and shrill.
The houses compassing the ground
Rattled their windows at the sound.
But no one rose. 'Alas!' said he,
'What lazy bones these mortals be!'
Again he plied the horn, again
Deflating both his lungs in vain;
Then stood astonished and chagrined
At raising nothing but the wind.
At last he caught the tranquil eye
Of an observer standing by
Last of mankind, not doomed to die.
To him thus Gabriel: 'Sir, I pray
This mystery you'll clear away.
Why do I sound my note in vain?
Why spring they not from out the plain?
Where's Luning, Blythe and Michael Reese,
Magee, who ran the _Golden Fleece?
Where's Asa Fisk? Jim Phelan, who
Was thought to know a thing or two
Of land which rose but never sank?
Where's Con O'Conor of the Bank,
And all who consecrated lands
Of old by laying on of hands?
I ask of them because their worth
Was known in all they wished-the earth.
Brisk boomers once, alert and wise,
Why don't they rise, why don't they rise?'
The man replied: 'Reburied long
With others of the shrouded throng
In San Mateo-carted there
And dumped promiscuous, anywhere,
In holes and trenches-all misfits
Mixed up with one another's bits:
One's back-bone with another's shin,
A third one's skull with a fourth one's grin
Your eye was never, never fixed
Upon a company so mixed!
Go now among them there and blow:
'Twill be as good as any show
To see them, when they hear the tones,
Compiling one another's bones!
But here 'tis vain to sound and wait:
Naught rises here but real estate.
I own it all and shan't disgorge.
Don't know me? I am Henry George.'

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:37 min read

Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. more…

All Ambrose Bierce poems | Ambrose Bierce Books

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    "The Last Man" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 20 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/1939/the-last-man>.

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