by Edgar Lee Masters
[from Spoon River Anthology 1 of 33 poems added to the 1916 edition]
You observe the carven hand
With the index finger pointing heavenward.
That is the direction, no doubt.
But how shall one follow it?
It is well to abstain from murder and lust,
To forgive, do good to others, worship God
Without graven images.
But these are external means after all
By which you chiefly do good to yourself.
The inner kernel is freedom,
It is light, purity–
I can no more,
Find the goal or lose it, according to your vision.
[To read more Spoon River Anthology click here.]