The Piltdown Man

A poem by Joel Allen Hess

We found him, lying there
"Dawn man", Darwin's man
Mouth wide open
Stuck in the mud

Trapped by a higher mind
We tripped upon him
Monkey man
Ave Verum Corpus?

His Fragments fit like a puzzle
The picture on the box is a mirror
What do you see, Mr. Dawson?

Do you see the real you? The original you?
Do you see your mother? Do you feel her warm arms?
Do you see your cozy home
when you touch his cold bones?

Do you now know why you cried when lucy sent you that punishing letter?
Or why your best friend in childhood died from T.B.?

What do you see?

Don't be disappointed, though you've been tricked.
You discovered something far more significant

The inner man; the mortal man; the prime man evil
Desperately rationalizing
His own existence.
By calculation, hoax, or naive sincerity
Yes, Professor Dawson
You have found the Dawn Man

[From Wikipedia: The "Piltdown Man" is a famous hoax consisting of fragments of a skull and jawbone collected in 1912 from a gravel pit at Piltdown, a village near Uckfield, East Sussex. The fragments were thought by many experts of the day to be the fossilised remains of a hitherto unknown form of early human. The Latin name Eoanthropus dawsoni ("Dawson's dawn-man", after the collector Charles Dawson) was given to the specimen.]