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Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

208. Davis Matlock

SUPPOSE it is nothing but the hive:

That there are drones and workers

And queens, and nothing but storing honey—

(Material things as well as culture and wisdom)—

For the next generation, this generation never living,

Except as it swarms in the sun-light of youth,

Strengthening its wings on what has been gathered,

And tasting, on the way to the hive

From the clover field, the delicate spoil.

Suppose all this, and suppose the truth:

That the nature of man is greater

Than nature’s need in the hive;

And you must bear the burden of life,

As well as the urge from your spirit’s excess—

Well, I say to live it out like a god

Sure of immortal life, though you are in doubt,

Is the way to live it.

If that doesn’t make God proud of you

Then God is nothing but gravitation,

Or sleep is the golden goal.