The Man, by Jasper Burns

I wrote this poem on a whim after finding the Walter Lippmann quote “Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.” I thought it was such a beautiful sentiment that it needed to be reworded and decorated more fully. You can see the echo of this line in the second to last verse, and the general sentiment throughout this poem. I thought it especially prudent to emphasize the crassness of the iconoclast; it is often the one’s who are the roughest and most disagreeable who are able to speak unique and important thoughts.


The Man

All his friends and family
Were climbing up the mount.
There were those he knew, and others too,
All that he could count.

And on the march the chorus sung:
“We’re good, we’re wise, and true.
About time we make this climb!
We are a right and moral crew.”

“The ones in front of us marched forth,
They followed others in song,
And those in front of them did too,
All cannot be wrong!”

“I do not see why he chose not come?”
One man politely asked.
“He’s bad and mean,” another preened.
“We’re free from him at last.”

And at the mountain trailhead,
Much further down the pass,
Stood the man, without his clan,
A mad and lonely ass.

From his base and lowly post,
The man shouted, screamed and panned:
“Listen quick, ya brainless bricks,
The map is in my hand!”

“If only you would stop and look,
There’s evidence abound.
See that cliff, you stupid stiffs;
Descend this dangerous ground!”

Indeed, the group had all turned left
When the chart directed right. 
But none had actually checked their trek,
Trusting their neighbor’s sight.

The man then turned, grieved, and sobbed.
For over the ridge they each would fall.
“Damn shame,” he said. “When all think the same,
Few stop to think at all.”

The man had tried to warn them;
They continued their upward grind.
Easier to be proud and follow the crowd,
Than it is to change your mind.

— Jasper Burns. February 5th, 2020

Published by Jasper

Aspiring polymath. I do my best to understand all sides of an issue. I read primary sources and opposing viewpoints to get to the truth. I enjoy debate and can change my mind given sufficient reason.

2 thoughts on “The Man, by Jasper Burns

  1. Your final lines reminds me of the ending of Shel Silverstein’s poem the Perfect High: “It’s always easier to sell them some shit than it is to give them the truth.”

    1. That’s funny, you’re right it does seem similar. That’s always been one of my favorite poems—it must’ve been working on my subconscious.

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