The Will To Live

SINCE Faith is a veil that has nothing behind it,
And Hope wanders lost where no mortal can find it,
Since Love is a mirror we break in a minute
In snatching the image our soul has cast in it,
What is the use of the Summers and Springs,
The wave of the woods and the waft of the wings--
Since all means nothing, and good things and ill
Make madness,--a mirage tormenting us still?

Since all the fighting, the ardent endeavour,
The heart cast bleeding to feed the Ideal,
Are vain, vain, vain, and the one thing real
Is that all's vain, for ever and ever;
Why then, be a man and stand back from the strife,
Fall by the sword, but keep out of the snare;
Will but to be--and be willing to bear
All that the gods may lay on your of life!

In the far East, where light ever dawns first,
There has man learned how the Fates may be cheated,
How by our craft may their strength be defeated,
Though all our best be no match for their worst!
Kill the desire that they set in your bosom,
Long not for fruit when you gaze on the blossom,
Dream not of flowers when you gaze on the bud,
Kill all the rebels that shout in your blood.
Sorrow and sickness, disease and decay--
These toll the hours of Life's desolate day;
Hopes unfulfilled and forbidden delight
These are the dreams of Life's treacherous night.
So let me image an infinite peace
Touched with no joy but the ease of release.
Out of the eddies I climb and I cease
Keeping, in change for this man's soul of me,
Something which, by the eternal decree,
Is as like Nothing as Something can be!

Not to desire, to admit, to adore,
Casting the robe of the soul that you wore
Just as the soul casts the body's robe down.
This is man's destiny, this is man's crown.
This is the splendour, the end of the feast;
This is the light of the Star in the East.

So, Silence reconciles Life's jarring phrases
Far in the future, austere and august:
Meanwhile, the buds of the poplars are falling,
Spring's on the lawn, and a little voice calling:
'Daddy, come out! Daddy darling, you must!
Daddy come out and help Molly pick daisies!'
And, since one's here, and the Spring's in the garden
(How many lives hence will that thought earn pardon?)
Since one's a man and man's heart is insistent,
And, since Nirvana is doubtful and distant,
Though life's a hard road and thorny to travel--
Stones in the borders and grass on the gravel,
Still there's the wisdom that wise men call folly,
Still one can go and pick daisies with Molly!

by Edith Nesbit

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