(From Twilight Clear. This poem by Pelley was written for and printed in the Christmas (1949)
Terrescope, an annual published by the inmates of the Federal Penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana.)

What is success?" the God of Questions asked, His arms a fold from tutoring life's mob,
"You have My earth in which to forge your skills and name your wages for your sovereign job.”
Tell me the score by which you grade your crafts. Unlid your chests of wreaths for Me to see.
What is the carat of your grant to worth? How measure crowns to Cosmos and to Me?"

The Merchant cried, "Lord, see my sweep of sail that combs the ocean's girth for silks and pearl.
Ten thousand seamen's souls are pawn to storm, to give my robe its wealth-encrusted curl.
Behold yon shabby yawl in fortune's cove. That was the fetus of my white-winged store.
I am Success, men say, because my dare launched One at Dawn that Eve saw forty score.

The Lawyer set his word-bejeweled brow to plead his motion in fate's Court of Claims.
"I am Success." he told the Bench of Time, "My clients fill the scroll of lambent names.
Ten thousand thieves are unhung that I fenced, or juries hung that princes might away.
The monarchs of the realms have called me great, because my piercing quips made Justice pay."

The Banker smiled his glassy smile of "No!" and stilled his breast the widow's mite to lend.
"Success," said he when interviewed, "is but sagacious reading of the Market's trend.
And taking no man's word as honest pledge, but making sure that bond is thrice the loan.
The business index shows the times are sound when men may borrow where they cannot own."

Then stepped the Statesman on his torch-lit shaft, and cleared his august cords to fulminate.
He poured out "rights" in molten eloquence, the wrongs of next term's voters to abate.
"I change the chart of empires," thundered he, "I carve the laws that give your State repute.
The vulgar get the gibbet for their spoil, the noble get the State as noble loot."

The God of Questions heard the claque of earth. He weighed the accolades that men termed fame,
But saw among the candidates unsought an ageless face that answered to no name.
"What dost thou here?" He asked in kindly quiz. "What is your rating in life's score of creeds?
Why list you here in humble circumstance, to paint your portrait in transcendent deeds?"

"I am the man," the Unknown made response, "who passed This Way ten thousand times before,
And came to know the baffling Road of Earth, the fen, the rocky stair, the hostile door.
I know the questions sealed in muted lips, when fears are locks and keys are thrown away.
I know the blunders of the wounded foot that hunts the path that leads to singing day.
I do not hope to march abreast the Great, for they have passed to heights behind the sun.
I've turned me back within the wrack of earth, to help guide out the hapless one by one.
Don't mind me, Lord, I have my recompense. I ask for no bright name to best the Dead.
Just let me give the blind the sight I've earned, and I'll catch up in eons on ahead."

The Merchant and the Lawyer gazed appalled, the Banker and the Statesman smiled aloof.
What greatness lay in wandering through the earth and giving alms when one had not a roof?
Alas, the God of Questions blessed no sash. He pressed no myrtle on the brows of charm.
They looked, and He was walking up the years, conversing with the Unknown, arm in arm.

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