There is a beauty To every place, No matter How dull or drear, Nor where On earth It lies 'twixt Rolling, roaring Seas. The Frigid northern ice Gleams sharp And keen 'Neath that same Glossy moonlight Which speckles My Virginia wood. Oh, what Rough bark Coats these ancient trees, Rubbing, tearing At my hand, As I try To sense what Makes them real? Tall in the sun They stand; Somber in the Murky moonlight. They were here Before me-- And will watch Silently when I am gone. I call them beautiful; Do they think me The same? Surely they sense My timid touch, My questing words Unspoke, as I Try to unpuzzle Why they Live and die. Why do I? Every step I take Leads me Through a forest As thick As God's own hair. Knowing why-- 'Twould mean so much! But God Trusts me not With his secrets now. Perhaps he never did. I have lost So much, it seems, When determined I was It would not be so. Wiser sages than I Sadly shook Their hoary heads; They knew How vain was I. But the moonlight Is so sweet! The wind, So full of strength And wonder! How can this All end, End in bitter ashes, Ghosts, echoes, Nothing more? Am I dead But perceive it not? Some do die But wander still, Unrealizing their flesh Is gone And they are no more. Has my soul Fled and forgot To tell me so? Cruel joke If it be true! But, ah-- I know I yet live. I have not Striven yet With all my demons Dark and cold. I have not Put to rest Those things left undone Ere I won My last life's freedom, Nor that before, Nor before that, too. Did I call My demons dark and cold? They are not, Or else seem not so. No, they shine In sunlight glimmering On lakes and seas, In gleaming moonbeams And starry jewels. Such foes are worthy Of men! Do I not feel Their lances Each time my glance Chances upon The moonlight leaping Across my lawn? Every sunrise, Every flower rich and pure, Every soft and subtle Beauty, whether Man or beast, Is a jeering dare To joust, To risk all I am To understand. Oh God! If all be true That others say, I came here Well-knowing What must be borne, What won and lost. But the cost Is still more dear That I would pay, If my earth-bound self Could have its way. I do not know If I do Right or wrong! Struggle, struggle, struggle All day long-- For what? To be a better soul? Do better souls From bitter humans come? The choices Are almost more Than I can bear. If I could see Just one clear path! To know The road I'm on Is the Straight and narrow way! How did The ancient seaman feel As at the wheel He stood, And turned his ship Where none before Had ever dared to go? The country Of the soul Has no map-- And I do not know Whether 'tis toward Hell or heaven That I go.
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