Edgar Lee Masters

(23 August 1868 – 5 March 1950 / Kansas / United States)

The Village Atheist - Poem by Edgar Lee Masters

Ye young debaters over the doctrine
Of the soul's immortality
I who lie here was the village atheist,
Talkative, contentious, versed in the arguments
Of the infidels.
But through a long sickness
Coughing myself to death
I read the Upanishads and the poetry of Jesus.
And they lighted a torch of hope and intuition
And desire which the Shadow,
Leading me swiftly through the caverns of darkness,
Could not extinguish.
Listen to me, ye who live in the senses
And think through the senses only:
Immortality is not a gift,
Immortality is an achievement;
And only those who strive mightily
Shall possess it.


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Read poems about / on: poetry, hope, death



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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