Page:All quiet along the Potomac and other poems.djvu/175

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NOBODY KNOWS. l6g

I asked the pilot far out at sea

Why the needle turned unfailingly

To the star that gems the northern sky,

But I waited long for his reply,

Till the sounding breakers nearer rose,

And the pilot shouted, " Nobody knows."

I asked the oak how its tent of shade Without a hammer or saw was made How its beams were out on the soft air laid, And its wide roots sodded without a spade. A robin sang, " How the oak tree grows, Nor you, nor I, nor the oak tree, knows."

I asked the moth how the light should be

One light, yet braided with agents three.

The silly thing at my question flew

Around the taper, across, and through,

Scorching and soiling feet and clothes ;

Then tracked from an ink-blot, " Nobody knows."

And so I turned to the puzzled saint Whose faith in the things unseen grew faint, And bid him wait till he bathed his eyes In the purer dew of Paradise Ere he questioned here why life has woes, When a lily s framing nobody knows.

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