The Young Seer
By Anna Musser
The lofty quiet of cathedrals
May be as prayer, or it may be death,
A dim-walled tomb for human seeking.
Religion had been made incarnate,
And the body, growing old, was still worshiped and exalted,
Color and movement, and the whole hushed music,
Were all as for a funeral, drawing toward silence,
Closing men’s eyes aforetime.
Why did they make Death to be their God,
And the sleep of death their peace?
Life is everywhere, where laughter is permitted,
For there is childhood, wide eyes and questions.
There is laughter still for America’s youth,
And the rawness of our farm-boy days,
Our heritage all measureless, our future wholly marvelous,
While our present was a lean log-house.
There were wooded hills and valley lands,
And any sons to work them,
And reading of the Bible by the evening fire.
And the matter of God could never be settled –
Methodists and Baptists and staunch Presbyterians,
Testifying, proselyting, arguing salvation.
From among these men rose Joseph the Prophet,
Young as America itself,
Tall with a good inheritance,
Intent with his race’s questioning,
No longer to be turned aside.
O young seer of the New World,
Kneeling near the great trees and asking of God,
Surely it is you who can save us at last
From the darkness that came upon our fathers.
Ere yet we grow to manhood and awareness of death,
Teach us the full honest faith of youth,
Lest we too turn and cower for shelter
Within dark words and dark walls,
Calling them sanctuary, worshiping of God.