Edgar Lee Masters: Professor Newcomer (Spoon River Anthology)

EVERYONE laughed at Col. Prichard
For buying an engine so powerful
That it wrecked itself, and wrecked the grinder
He ran it with.
But here is a joke of cosmic size:
The urge of nature that made a man
Evolve from his brain a spiritual life—
Oh miracle of the world!—
The very same brain with which the ape and wolf
Get food and shelter and procreate themselves.
Nature has made man do this,
In a world where she gives him nothing to do
After all— (though the strength of his soul goes round
In a futile waste of power.
To gear itself to the mills of the gods)—
But get food and shelter and procreate himself!

***

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