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Fall/Winter 2017



Jared Schmitz

JOHN MURRAY SPEAR

Not long ago or very far away,
There lived a man named Mr. John Murray Spear.
Mr. Spear wished to free all slaves and men’s minds, too, from their bonds.
Thrown from church for views beyond his time,
He turned to the spirits of the past, to ghosts,
And went forth to bring healing to mankind.

Men came in his dreams, the best of mankind:
Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Murray, and more from far away.
“Bring a new age to the world,” said these ghosts,
“With gears and wires you must be the tip of our spear,
Building airships and thinking machines to transcend time:
We are the Band of Electricizers, and we would free men from their bonds.”

Nature is dead, thought Mr. Spear, and trapped in human bonds;
Metal and wheels and machines are the new way for mankind—
God wishes a mechanical body for Himself this time.
So Mr. Spear stood, gathered his own band, and went away,
To a hill where a wooden tower stood like a spear,
And the wind whispered with the words of ghosts.

Like the Baptist’s new-risen ghost,
This latter-day John proclaimed coming freedom from sin’s bonds.
The Electricizers spoke their plans to Mr. Spear,
And in the tower he welded a new messiah for mankind:
A mind of lights and magnets that could never pass away,
Into which the spirit of God might enter for all time.

The Infant Motor, he called it, the wonder of our time;
The New Motive Force, which would make us no longer ghosts—
Who hardly live before their lives are taken away—
And would make us gods instead, beings with no bonds,
Who stand like Rhodes’ Colossus and laugh at former mankind,
Dodging death and disease and hatred’s black spear.

“The end is nigh,” said Mr. Spear,
“For my messiah of wheels and gears will lead us beyond time.”
But there are ever those with black hearts among mankind,
People inextricably woven into the old law’s ghosts,
Who would not be broken from their bonds.
Such men, Baptists themselves, took Mr. Spear’s hopes away.

But some whisper that Mr. Spear spirited the Infant Motor away,
To a place where it may bide its time, shrouded in secrecy’s bonds,
Until it returns to free mankind from his perennially haunting ghosts.


Jared Schmitz, a librarian, is currently studying for his Bachelor's in English at the University of Kansas.Earlier this year, he won K.U.ís William Herbert Carruth Memorial Poetry Contest.

 


 

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