Page:All quiet along the Potomac and other poems.djvu/206
200 THE LESSON OF A SHADOW.
Were mapped in gold on the dewy ground, With a grassy rim like a ribbon round.
And Max, wise Max, in the doorway stood, In a doubting man s misanthropic mood, Saying, " Uncle Ralph, may be that is so, For you, but for me Unless I know Through my senses keen either hear, or see, Why, the thing itself is unproved to me."
This the phrase I caught out of long debate On the need of faith in our mortal state, As I looked the loops of the woodbine through At the old brown face full of glory new.
"Look yonder, Max." In a pool of sun
Flitted here and hither a shadow dun
Of a little bird that we could not see.
" Can you prove that robin a fact to me?
Do you see the bird ? Do you hear it?" "Nay."
" Then there is no bird. Is it thus you say,
Friend Max?" Why, where has the wise man gone,
Leaving Uncle Ralph on the porch alone
To shake his head, while a tender smile
Comes over his patient face the while ?
"Only shadows now, but the substance then, " He said, as the bird trilled a loud "Amen."