I've battled beside Gilgamesh, the Bull
Of Heaven slain by us. I've fought beside
Achilles, hot beside a burning hull,
And watched as Agamemnon, captured, died.
With Oedipus I've lost my vital eyes
With insight gained, avoiding my own lies.
I've been to Hades too with Gilgamesh,
Again with Dionysus, Heracles,
With Hermes, Orpheus, yes in the flesh
With brave Odysseus, and it may please
You too to know I've been there by myself,
Led there by Nietzsche, unlike Dante left
Alone, unguided, virtually bereft.
I've argued here and there with Plato, fought
With Socrates and Aristotle, gained
In insight beside Adam Smith, and thought
With Nietzsche and Aquinas, became strained
With existentialists, romanticists,
And felt that Marx, Rousseau deserved my fists.
With Sundiata I fought with a king
To gain his country back. And then I danced
With Ame-no-uzume, danced to bring
The sun out of her cave. I've held a lance
With Launcelot and Don Quixote, stole
With Jean Valjean and with him became whole.
I've fought in France the Revolution, stood
Against the tyrant king. I fought in Russia
Against the French invaders, too. The good
I argued long with Kant on walks through Prussia,
Discussed duality in paradox
With Lao Tzu, who turned into a fox.
I've lived ten thousand lives ten thousand years,
I've been both men and women, straights and gays,
Lived ten thousand cultures and shed more tears
And laughed more laughs than you have lived your days.
You think of all these lives with only scorn?
This world did not begin when you were born.