How can I tell what I'll be, I who don't know what I am?
Be what I think? But I keep thinking I am so many things!
And so many people think of being the same thing, there just can't be that many!
Genius? At this moment
A hundred thousand heads are thinking they are geniuses like me,
And who know if history will remember even one of them.
From all those dreams of glory there will be nothing but manure in the end.
No, I don't believe in myself.
In every asylum there are madmen sure of so much!
I, sure of nothing, am I more sure or less sure than they?
No, not even of myself . . .
In how many garrets and non-garrets of the world
Are these self styled geniuses dreaming now?
How many high minded aspirations, noble and lucid --
Yes, really high minded, noble and lucid --,
And who knows, even practicable,
Will ever see the real light of the day or get a hearing?
The world is made for those born to conquer it,
Not those who dream of conquering it, right though they may be.
I've dreamed of more things than Napoleon went and did.
I've taken to my so-called heart more humanity than Christ ever did.
I've secretly thought up more philosophies than Kant ever wrote down.
Yet I am, and maybe always will be, the man in the garret,
Though I don't live in one;
I'll always be the one who wasn't born for it;
I'll always be the one with all the promise;
I'll always be the one waiting for the door to open at the wall without a door,
Who sang his anthem to infinity in a chicken coop,
Who heard the voice of God in a covered well.
Believe in myself? No, I don't, nor in anything.
Let nature pour down upon my burning head
Her sun, her rain, the wind ruffling my hair,
And let the rest come, if it will or must, or not at all.
Cardiac cases enslaved by the stars,
We've conquered the world before getting out of bed,
But we wake and the world is opaque,
We get up and the world looks strange,
We go out in the street and there is the whole earth,
Plus Solar System, Milky Way, and the old Indefinitude.