I got my corner office on
a sunny day in spring.
I had a list of things to do
and changes I would bring.
Armed with enthusiasm
injustices to right,
I looked outside at greening trees
and let my dreams take flight.
Ambition brought me to this day,
and work and sacrifice.
Now I would make a difference
and justify their price.
Along with phone and furniture
moved fair transparency,
and ethical equality,
I would thwart the double standard,
the lies and venal greed.
A man who worked an honest day,
his family would feed.
And so I dreamed that gold spring day,
when I as president,
began the work I’d waited for
in bright abandonment.
Spring waned and summer came and went.
Winds blew and then leaves fell.
I listened, charged, commanded, then
In time, things did begin to change
so that the corner rang
with mirth instead of argument
and fellowship that sang.
When I stood before the window
on one late winter day,
I marveled at the changes that
had come, at last, my way.
Employees smiled and business grew.
Our profit margins climbed.
The factory expanded twice
and staff worked overtime.
I walked out to the shop that day
amid production’s hum.
I slapped the foreman’s broad, plaid back,
Proud of what we had become.
I picked a part up off the line
and turned it in my hand.
The paint was smudged, the fasteners loose.
I didn’t understand.
“Have we not fixed all this?” I asked.
The foreman looked confused.
“We though you cared ‘bout how we felt,
not what we had produced.”
I walked back to my corner cell,
but stopped before the door
to touch the golden nameplate and
the title that it bore.
I’d built a thing of beauty
like a modern Xanadu,
but the castle had a hollow core
and in my heart I knew.
Nobility and happiness,
or wealth, or skill, or ease,
without remaking from within
I’d wasted time, betrayed my dream.
I slunk to face the glass,
but through the window in the snow
spied spring’s first blade of grass.
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