Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Agnostic


The chapel looms against the sky,
Above the vine-clad shelves,
And as the peasants pass it by
They cross themselves.
But I alone, I grieve to state,
Lack sentiment divine:
A citified sophisticate,
I make no sign.

Their gesture may a habit be,
Mechanic in a sense,
Yet somehow it awakes in me
Strange reverence.
And though from ignorance it stem,
Somehow I deeply grieve,
And wish down in my heart like them
I could believe.

Suppose a cottage I should buy,
And little patch of vine,
With pure and humble spirit I
Might make the Sign.
Aye, though I godless way I go,
And sceptic in my trend,
A faith in something I don't know
Might save me in the end.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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