as proudest wolf he ascends to stage
sister the lie will permeate and evade
sister the lie has come to stay
her sorry victory ultimate
revealing shallow coffers well beneath a dying sun
sullied soul…
once sold, so long ago…
and cheaply, in the running, for the blood
the blood which flows past veins of caution…
he stands chesty, basked in false acclaim,
and counts the squalid fortune of the lost
even now he is the lesser of the losers,
the least of the lower…
waging in a canyon of abandon
wherein the failure echoes endless…
ascension to divine difference
i rejoice at not being that i pity
i am not that i have studied not to be
i rejoice at the lessons, many and lurid
’tis noble to stand corrected,
put right by observation
and not be tempered behind the backs
of those who smirk in silence…
to him who has failed so fully as to let me slumber
there can never be the thanks i owe…
the paper-mache general summons duteous troops,
with some compelled to belief of redemption
some compelled to pray for another chance
yet they do not…they are content…
sister the lie is able and flushed…
this and other evenings.

About Burton Cummings

Recipient, Order of Canada & Order of Manitoba. Voice & Songwriter: American Woman (6m+ plays), These Eyes, (5m+ plays) & Stand Tall.


  1. Christine Campbell says

    Another marvellous poem. Does the line “he stands chesty, basked in false acclaim” refer to someone in particular or is it a general commentary on the shallowness of celebrity?