The Seeker

Don Marquis

The creeds he wrought of dream and thought
  Fall from him at the touch of life,
  His old gods fail him in the strife—
Withdrawn, the heavens he sought!

Vanished, the miracles that led,
  The cloud at noon, the flame at night;
The vision that he wing’d and sped
  Falls backward, baffled, from the height;

Yet in the wreck of these he stands
  Upheld by something grim and strong;
  Some stubborn instinct lifts a song
And nerves him, heart and hands:

He does not dare to call it hope;—
  It is not aught that seeks reward—

Nor faith, that up some sunward slope
  Runs aureoled to meet its lord;

It touches something elder far
  Than faith or creed or thought in man,
  It was ere yet these lived and ran
Like light from star to star;

It touches that stark, primal need
  That from unpeopled voids and vast
Fashioned the first crude, childish creed,—
  And still shall fashion, till the last!

For one word is the tale of men:
  They fling their icons to the sod,
  And having trampled down a god
They seek a god again!

Stripped of his creeds inherited,
  Bereft of all his sires held true,
Amid the wreck of visions dead
  He thrills at touch of visions new. . . .

He wings another Dream for flight. . . .
  He seeks beyond the outmost dawn
  A god he set there . . . and, anon,
Drags that god from the height!

.     .     .     .     .     .

But aye from ruined faiths and old
  That droop and die, fall bruised seeds;
And when new flowers and faiths unfold
  They’re lovelier flowers, they’re kindlier creeds.

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