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The successful man has thrust himself

 The successful man has thrust himself
Through the water of the years,
Reeking wet with mistakes --
Bloody mistakes;
Slimed with victories over the lesser,
A figure thankful on the shore of money.
Then, with the bones of fools He buys silken banners Limned with his triumphant face; With the skins of wise men He buys the trivial bows of all.
Flesh painted with marrow Contributes a coverlet, A coverlet for his contented slumber.
In guiltless ignorance, in ignorant guilt, He delivered his secrets to the riven multitude.
"Thus I defended: Thus I wrought.
" Complacent, smiling, He stands heavily on the dead.
Erect on a pillar of skulls He declaims his trampling of babes; Smirking, fat, dripping, He makes speech in guiltless ignorance, Innocence.

by Stephen Crane
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