Preservation of Good People

I have never understood history

And further, I have never understood history textbooks.

 

A page about Louis the Sixteenth’s lavish living is juxtaposed 

to a paragraph about the daily life of people such as “Jacques Bonhomme” 

Some people are chosen to represent the main parts of history;

the rest are mashed up to form the pages

 

I will never meet a good man like Jack,

for he died during the French Revolution

I will never meet the sixteenth Louis,

for he died by the guillotines

However, I can read all about Louis in a textbook

 

But why do I miss out on what happened to Jack?

 

When he died, where did he go?

I do not mean his body, but rather his story

If he did not write an account of his life

or the things he saw and felt

And we lose the stories of the unheard 

Does it mean we still live in prehistoric times?

 

When I accept that we lose, and have lost, the stories of millions,

I get afraid

Just like those Historians scrambling to record the brutal war stories

from the dwindling pool of World War Two veterans,

Hoping time doesn’t run out on the veterans stories

Really, what I have accepted, 

Is that the unwritten manuscript of history from a dying man has been burned;

Of a seemingly unborn, replaceable man

 

It was burned and there was no soot,

Nothing left to show what once was

And the smoke crawled up the chimney into the night

Sometimes the people who remembered the unwritten man can pass on his story,

but smoke chooses not to linger 

And swirls up into the rest of the air to form a color palette of gray 

The gray matter of history 

Some people are chosen to represent the main parts of history

and the rest are mashed up to form the gray

This poem is about: 
My country
Our world

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