Davis Matlock

By Edgar Lee Masters 1868–1950
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.

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Poet Edgar Lee Masters 1868–1950

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Faith & Doubt, Religion, Living, Social Commentaries, God & the Divine

Poetic Terms Dramatic Monologue, Persona

 Edgar Lee Masters

Biography

Edgar Lee Masters is best remembered for his great collection Spoon River Anthology, a sequence of over two hundred free-verse epitaphs spoken from the cemetery of the town of Spoon River. When the collection first saw publication in 1915, it caused a great sensation because of its forthrightness about sex, moral decay, and hypocrisy; but its cynical view of Midwestern small town values influenced a whole generation of writers . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Faith & Doubt, Religion, Living, Social Commentaries, God & the Divine

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Dramatic Monologue, Persona

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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