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Can you find a copy of the poem I will not go back by Milton Geiger?

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Answer:

try looking for a copy through the California artists radio theater under great radio writers

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Answer:

A version (the original?) of "I Will Not Go Back" by Milton Geiger is posted below, see related links:



It is part of an episode of the radio program called "This Is My Best" produced by Orson Wells on April 17, 1945, which marked FDR's passing.

Note that this a dramatization and not the monologue version performed later by folks like William Powell and Edward G. Robinson. If anyone has information on that version please post it.

This version probably is also a bit different from a version that apparently appeared in Scholastic Magazine in the early 70's which might be this:



The text in the first part of the program as far as I can tell is:

Over the concrete and the steel
Astride the mills and factories
The temples and the farms
The thunderous commerce of the city
The oceans and the rivers to the oceans
Over the hills, the mountains and the valleys of Earth
Over the fervent hush of the hopeful people
Watches a Spirit

I will not go back

Out of the mists of time
Out of the ancient yesterdays
The Spirit came

Out of the mists of time
Out of the ooze and slime
Out of the dreadful dawning
Out of the dim wet morning
Of the Earth, I came
And I will not go back

Now the Earth was without form
And void and darkness
Is on the face of the deep
In the beginning was the lands, untenanted
And there was the restless immemorial sea
There was the empty sky
And Silence

Time stood speechless
Among the blank and silent days
There was the infinite
There was eternity
And there was a plan
And reason
There was God

And then, then in the scheme of time
The sea that thundered
On the anoint shores
Sheltered a living jelly
In the dimples
Where the tidal waters gathered
Under the lifeless rocks
Something lived
Something swam and squirmed
And grew, and multiplied, elaborated, evolved

And after the unthinkable
Deliberation of the centuries
A thousand times compounded
It crept out of the sea

This was the beginning of the plan
Could it be-- Man?

And that was the second day
The rank proliferating earth
Misty and steaming
Swarmed with a monstrous progeny
Dragons dwelt on the reaking Earth
And had there moment
In the scheme of time

Then, back, back to the ooze
That spawned them
Went the armored giants
Power and brute force weren't enough
Armor and sinew
And the cruel clashing jaws
Had failed
The monsters went back

I will not go back

The third day passed
The fourth
the fifth
How many million years?

And I?
I was a bent and hairy thing
Savage and witless
Fleeing through jungle trees
Living my mindless life
Fighting my endless strife
Mating and dying
Beating my shaggy chest
Dancing in moonlight
Blazed with my brute brethren
Howling the moon
Ape that I was

Then, then-- something happened

I stood in a moonlit glade
Brute like the others
And lifted myself on my knuckles
Groaning and straining

I lifted myself

And the moons came endlessly
And endlessly went the moons
And the dark procession of the ages
Witnessed the dim yearning
Of the creature to be
More than creature--

Then-- Then I stood up!

The creature stood up
And the jungle rocked
And shuttered to its roar
And to the thunder of its fists
Upon its hairy breast

Til its comrades bared their yellow fangs
And growled
For they knew now that he was
Neither kin or comrade to them
Now or evermore

Loose and abysmal
I hid in the hostile earth
Fighting and fleeing
More hunted than hunting
Trailing the giant beaver
Clothing my nakedness

I followed the saber-toothed tiger
Taking for mine what was left of his kill
For the jungle was close
But I would not go back
I would not
I will not

I will not go back!

The flash of bronze
Was in the wilderness then
The rawhide bow string
And the singing arrow
Strummed the attendancy of man
Among the creatures

The great race moved
Across the yielding Earth
Wielding its fire
Brandishing the spear
The shepherd's crook
Some forgotten genius
Learned to speak with symbols
Carved on wood, on stone, on ivory, on bone

I wrote

Someone laid a shell upon the water
And spread skins and hides before the wind
And put a flat stick into the tide

I sailed the deep water!

He used the rock and lifted stone on stone
And fashioned wood above his head

I built!

And man looked up at the stars
And at the wheeling sun
And fell upon his knees
For in his groping brain
Kindled the fearful knowledge of the plan
And the one who planned

His Bronze became steel
But his weapons lifted against the jungle
Were lifted also against his kind
And lo, the blood of man
Ran in rivers to the sea
Thus it was written

And it came to pass
When they were in the fields,
That Cain rose up against Abel, his brother
And slew him
And the lord said unto Cain 'Where is Able, thy brother?'
And he said, 'I know not, am I my brother's keeper?'
And he said 'What hast thou done?
The voice of thy brother's blood cryuth unto me from the ground!'

Aye, for all his building
And his bronze
His ivory and steel
The jungle was close

I will not go back!

In the desert as it is written
A prophet went up upon the heights
Where thunders and lightnings
Sprang from the awful sky
And the great voice had utterance
Among the canyons of the crag
And palisades of Sinai

'Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not covet.'

The word came down
And the laws were ten
And this was the law for the children of men

And Moses the prophet
Came down from the mount
And So it was
So it is written

Until yet another set his gentle spirit
And his voice against the ready jungle
Yet another spoke for the goodness
And the glory
And the immortality of man

The pilots of the Galilean lake they said
"The Nazerean" they called him
And he spoke
And the jungle recoiled again

Yet man bred tyrants into the Earth
Nero, Caligula, the Inquisition
Tyrants and pain and blood
The jungle no less

I will not go back!

A council of men
Forced liberty from one tyrant
The Magna Carta

A handful of free men
crossed the perilous ocean
to be free

Another handful dared an empire
The horseman rode
From Charleston to Lexington
And farmers' muskets spoke that April day
For freedom

We hold these truths to be self-evident
They are self-evident
That all men are created equal
All men are equal
That they are endowed by their creator
With certain unalienable rights
Rights that among them are life
Life
Liberty
And the pursuit of happiness

Out of the wilderness I came
Beast into man
My flint and my bronze
And my bones are scattered over the earth
I am Plato and Socrates,
Michelangelo, Galileo,
Beethoven, Shakespeare, Dante,
Newton, Lincoln,
Confucius has taught
his simple goodness in my past

Who then has wrested the needless truth
Mohammad has journeyed to the mountain
The Nazarene has died for me
Warriors have fallen
And saints have risen in my time

I have charted the Oceans and the continents
I have measured the firmaments
And have grown closer to it
On recent wings

I fly!

I rhyme and reason
I write my music
And my words on
faith itself

I have conquered the plague
And the fevers of the body
And the fevers of the mind
And of the spirit

My neck is limber now
My back is straight
I do not cockle and look downward
Like the wild beast

I look up to the stars
And into the face of my fellow man

And I will not go back!

----------

Another version was printed in a literary magazine in the early 1970's:

I have the copy of the poem as it was published in a literary magazine for teens (I don't

remember the name of the magazine) around 1970. It is different, though similar, to the one

shared previously.

I Will Not Go Back by Milton Geiger

Out of the mists of time,
Out of the ooze and slime,
Out of the dreadful morning,
Out of the speechless dawning of the earth
I came,
And I will not go back!

"Now the earth is without form,
and void and darkness is upon
the face of the deep-"
Then-
Something happened.

The sea that thundered on the Azoic Shores
sheltered a living jelly!
Something...lived at last in the
Ancient ocean-squirmed in the
Tidal pools: live! Lived, grew,
Multiplied, evolved, lived!
Until-after the unthinkable
Deliberation of the ages-it-
crept-out-of-the sea.

The moons came endlessly and
Endlessly passed the moons.
An now?
Giants! Giants walked the waking world:
Monsters made monstrous war in
The rank swamp-world, cheek by jowl
Fang aainst living armor. War.
Then-
Back-back into the ooze
Descended the dinosaurs.
The monsters went back.
I WILL NOT GO BACK.

The eons came and the
Eons went-and I?
I was a bent and hairy thing,
Savage and witless,
Fleeing through jungle trees.
Living my lightless life.
Fighting my midless strife.
Mating and dying;
Dancing in the jungle glades
With my brute brethren,
Howling the moon-
Ape that I was!

Then-I stood up!
Rocked on my knuckles and
Thrust on the earth and I stood!

And the earth rocked to my roar!
And my former comrades yellowed their
Fangs at me and muttered their
Dim hate-for they knew that I was neither
Kin nor comrade to them now
Or evermore.

I hid in the hostile world, fighting
and fleeing.
More hunted than hunting;
Skulking the saber-tooth tiger to glean
For my belly what was left of
his kill.

NOW-the flash of my bronze was
In the wilderness, the chink
Of iron and the thrum of the
bowstring.

Then....
Out of the cave I came
Casting arrows before me!
Over the earth I moved
Wielding my fire:
Brandishing the spear-
And the shepherd's crook;
Crouching over skulls-
Where I pounded my grain.
I laid a shell on water
And caught the wind in skins.
I sailed!
I hewed mountains and
Put stone on stone-
I built!
Awed, I lifted my face to the stars
And realized a mystery.
I fell upon my knees-
For in my brain there now kindled
The awful knowledge of the plan-
And of the One Who Planned.

"But it came to pass when
They were in the field that Cain rose up
Against Abel and slew him. And the Lord
Said, 'What hast though done? The voice of thy
Brother's blood crieth unto me
From the ground!'"

THOU SHALT NOT KILL

THOU SHALT NOT STEAL

THOUGH SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS

THOUGH SHALT NOT HAVE ANY GOD BEFORE ME!

And more. And more.

The Word came down and
The laws were Ten,
And this was truth for the
Race of men.
And Moses came down from the
Mountain. So it was.
So it is written.

And still another set his voice
Against the ready jungle and
Spoke for the worth and the
Immortality of Man.
The pilot of the Galilean Lake,
The called Him, The Nazarene, they said.

Then Why?
Why then, does blood cateract
To the oceans?
Why is the sky filled with the rage of nations?
Why hatred and hunger and the
Wasting of the children and
The many scorning the few and
Scourging the different?
Why the frailty that makes fear
And the fear that makes arrogance?
Why ALL that suffocates the light within us
That is the answer to the light
And the blight
Of the patient graveworm?

And yet-
I am NOT IN VAIN!

Out of the wilderness I came.
Beast into man!
I have survived holocaust and ruin
And every terror of creation.
My flint and my bronze lie
Scattered pole to pole.
From the speechless cavern to
The Kimmeridge clay
I have dared-and the
Wreckage of my daring
Is not all dust and folly.

I AM Man

I am Plato and Socrates,
Michelangelo, Galileo, Beethoven;
Curie, Dante, Newton-
Einstein, Shakespeare, Lincoln.
A man named king!
I reckon. I rhyme and reason.
I fly, I sing.

I have sent my caravels to the moon
And will yet fling frigates
to the stars!
I seek; I fail. And I seek again!
I am no shuffling ape-thing now!
I will not crouch again upon
My haunches in some atom-ordained cave,
Mumbling carrion bones.
I will not be jackle to the tiger again!
I have outlived the cavern
and the claw.
I am a thing of order and I know another
law
Than blood,
and a better prophecy for my kind
Than darkness and oblivion.

And I know-
I KNOW that the fearful fault
That is yet within me I will
Antidote with my reason
And my mercy
And my love,
Until the physician that
I must be to me
Has cured himself.
For if I fail...
IF I FAIL...

My neck shall bend again
To darkness; and the glimmer
I call my soul be ash.
And I and all my fearful wonders
Shall perish into silence
And my spirit walk ashamed
Among the ghosts of dinosaurs-
A craven, failed, and forgotten
Moment
In The Plan.

But I have traveled this far:
I have set my instruments upon a promise...

Out of the mists of time,
Out of the ooze and slime,
Out of the dreadful morning,
Out of the speechless dawning of the earth
I came,
And I will not go back!
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