You were the phantom of times past,
tied back hair and a straw chin.
Your profile belied the glimmering enlightenment
that inhabited your brain,
oscillating between anger and tomfoolery,
expressing each with equal passion.
You were the teacher of the past.
Apprehensive men embraced your profound knowledge
as you looked to quench your own thirst
with a cataract of unknown challenges
that needed to be imbibed and ingested.
Your gain was painted
far too brightly for them to overlook.
The sun that shone from your mind
was a highway whose signs could not be ignored.
The humor that sometimes sent them hiding
was no match for your value.
They needed you to be a leader.
Your leadership was a dichotomy
of extreme resolution and relaxation.
You were the star to which everyone was drawn,
the midwife who assisted in the birth
of the success of so many countless students.
You could not stop when you saw
beyond the human mind.
You dragged your lengthened chain
into uncharted waters,
not only staying afloat, but gaining
for those who inhabited castles in the sky.
In the beginning, your toil was your life.
Your accomplishments were the harnesses
that you wore to drag and pull
the machine forward into the future.
The hours began to rise
like a majestic skyscraper.
You climbed every step.
Now, the castles are inhabited by thieves
who would turn a blind eye to the past,
by thieves who would rob you
of your essence and discard the foundation
that you poured to support
the castles they inhabit,
enabling them to hoard the gold
and discard you, the builder.