Leader of men

Leader of men
by Norman McCaig


When he addressed ten thousand
faces worked by automation
he was filled, exalted, afflated
with love and ambition for
his fellowcountrymen – in so far,
of course,
as they were not incompatible
with the love and ambition he felt
for himself.  No sacrifice
would be too great.  No
holocaust.  No bloodbath.  He
was so affected by the nobility
of his vision, his eyes were,
naturally, blurred.


How was he to know
the mindless face of the crowd
broke up, when he finished, into ten thousand pieces – except that,
when he went home,
he found the tea cold, his wife
plain, his dog smelly?