When the vultures learned Prometheus was dying
they lost their appetite for the taste of his flesh,
stopped their constant nibbling at his body,
and sang his praises as though he were a saint.
After what seemed like eternity, they mourned
the loss of their old enemy, the rebel scapegoat.

But we, the little people, wept without shame
We knew how much we owed the old titan, our advocate.
He gave us fire, true; taught us to hunt, to build;
clothed us in animal skins against the cold.
But more than that, he gave us dignity:
he taught us to become more than we were.

No matter what threats were made to all his comforts
He dared to speak to us as if we could understand.
No vulture could devour his proud courage;
no gods prevent him from doing what was right.
Sleep well, Prometheus.  You have earned your rest.
And we, the little people, we will remember.

©1996 Dorothy Miller Gutenkauf
In Memoriam: Albert Shanker