AGAINST MODERNISM

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I have been thinking how all the things that are
Guide our thinking, the way a traveler is guided by a star

And the star’s actual existence is little understood
Because it’s the vast distance that makes its guidance good.

The shapes of vast distances are guides; but we forget
How little we know, since guiding has not guided us to knowledge, yet

But only to a more lonely place among the stars
With vaster ignorance, so if those guitars

Play softly and the violins join in
And the piano beats a trail to the top, your heart to win,

Let your dark heart be darkly won
By bright music, for this is how adults most have fun:

They’ll tell you this, who live to sweet old age,
Wandering through childhood’s book, page by page,

Until the everlasting sigh is heard—
Well, don’t think what you think isn’t just as absurd;

For you measure things and think you know
What that measure means; only the star can show

You the way, but its feeble light
Is but a marker in the towering night

Where to be a child again, and weep
Is painful; better, far, to be old in a happy sleep.

When asked if heaven exists, say hopefully: maybe.
When I was a beauty, this beauty was a baby.

Heavens have flying cherubs—well, of course they do.
A beautiful ideal is not, because beautiful, less true.

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