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Affliction
Author: Mark Spencer

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This is the story of a man named Joseph.
But you know him by another name.
His closest friend and doctor called him John.
Though his affliction was his claim to fame.

His given name was Joseph Carey Merrick.
In eighteen sixty two his life began.
His affliction appeared while still very young.
He grew up to be the Elephant Man.

And that is how Joseph is remembered,
Not for his gentle spirit or kind heart.
Were you even aware he was a poet?
Or had a passion for music and art?

His mother died when he was eleven,
His father remarried and things got bleak.
He was cast out and had to fend for himself,
He joined the circus as a side show freak.

He was treated as if less than human,
Though his spirit was greater than most.
He wanted to be like everyone else,
Yet the man may as well have been a ghost.

All people saw was the Elephant Man,
The human being, lost somewhere inside.
Held captive by his own deformity,
His dream of a normal life, denied.

Who he was has been eclipsed by what he was.
A deformed freak, the popular depiction.
He was a man over flowing with grace,
Remembered only for his affliction.

So the next time you meet someone afflicted,
Remember Joseph Merrick if you can.
And the beautiful spirit forever trapped,
In the body of the Elephant Man.

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Comments on this poem/writing:

Megan (67.124.150.74) -- Saturday, December 6 2003, 01:55 pm

The Elephant Man

I remember the movie. This poem is so true! Really, really good poem.
Terrie* (65.148.215.70) -- Sunday, December 7 2003, 12:46 am

Mark....

exellent point...such beauty in yor words..to remind us that beauty is skin deep...thank you for keeping us humble...great writing..have a good day & Happy Holidays...Terrie*
 
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