Editor’s Note: Today is the second anniversary of Benjamin Plunkett’s passing from this life into his eternal reward. To honor him and to celebrate his life, legacy, and poetic artistry, we present to you, “The School of Mankind”, the first poem in a series called Considering Ecclesiastes. This heretofore unpublished series of poems works its way chronologically through the book of Ecclesiastes. We hope you will read it and cherish it as we will.
What a heavy burden God has laid on men! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.Ecclesiastes 1:13b-14
The School of Mankind
I seesaw a straw while munching frivolous fries. In daydreams, I dance the eternal dance, and also I ponder the Preacher’s rainbow of words.
Consider, man frames great feats for self-glory. I liken him to soldiers in the searing heat wasting time in idle, but powerful, song. Suddenly a courageous shout as the kindred fighters fiercely fought four-thousand blazing Zulus so violent. Brave those men who withstood the surging dominance. They refused to drown in their foe’s ocean. At the last burnt barn, the lieutenant laughed, Weakly crying, “C’mon, c’mon, why are you waiting?” Dark shadows hailed them; fell voices saluted them as fellow warriors; warriors who defy the impossible; warriors who fight without the hindrance of fear. I think: These men are the earth’s ultimate.
But, I should know better than this thought. The Preacher always said that men are mere vapors fallen from the vast Mist Maker.
Footnote: the reference in the main stanza of the poem is to the 1964 movie Zulu with Michael Caine, a favorite of Ben’s.