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

235. Arlo Will

DID you ever see an alligator

Come up to the air from the mud,

Staring blindly under the full glare of noon?

Have you seen the stabled horses at night

Tremble and start back at the sight of a lantern?

Have you ever walked in darkness

When an unknown door was open before you

And you stood, it seemed, in the light of a thousand candles

Of delicate wax?

Have you walked with the wind in your ears

And the sunlight about you

And found it suddenly shine with an inner splendor?

Out of the mud many times,

Before many doors of light,

Through many fields of splendor,

Where around your steps a soundless glory scatters

Like new-fallen snow,

Will you go through earth, O strong of soul,

And through unnumbered heavens

To the final flame!