Roland Burris has erected a grand mausoleum for himself, carved with the words “TRAIL BLAZER” and a long list of his accomplishments, with a space left for his more recent achievements. That gap could soon be filled in with “U.S. Senator.”
In addition to constructing a big mausoleum, he etched it with practically his entire resume, recording, among other things, that he was the first black Southern Illinois University exchange student to the University of Hamburg in Germany and the first black national bank examiner for the U.S. Treasury Department.
In 1984, when he ran unsuccessfully for the Senate, he once mused: “Illinois is the Land of Lincoln. Maybe someday it will be the Land of Burris.” He often speaks of himself in the third person. And he named his children Roland and Rolanda.
I wonder if Mr. (soon to be Senator) Burris has any interest in poetry:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
–Percy Bysshe Shelley