Eugene V. Debs
On his face as he lay, at peace at last, in Terre Haute,
There was the majestic trajectory of a trail from the earth
to the stars.
The cotillons of the Milky Way could not bewilder him
by their numbers.
He had always dreamed of paths difficult for human feet,
bridges impossible to the calculations of accepted
engineers, union depots open to all the races and languages
He was a railroad man, familiar to the link and coupling
pin, to rain, zero weather, snow plows, stalled engines, the
first Brotherhood of Railroad Firemen, the first American
He was an orator, a jailbird, a presidential candidate, an
enemy of war, a convict, a philosopher, storyteller, friend of
Said a poet, “he had ten hopes to your one.”
A sister laid a spray of four Crusader red roses
on his breast.
Over in Valhalla, if Valhalla is not demolished, rebuilt,
renamed, he speaks at ease with Garrison, John Brown,
Albert Parsons, Spartacus.