What am I, Life? A thing of watery salt
Held in cohesion by unresting cells
Which work they know not why, which never halt;
Myself unwitting where their Master dwells.
I do not bid them, yet they toil, they spin
A world which uses me as I use them.
Nor do I know which end or which begin,
Nor which to praise, which pamper, which condemn.
So like a marvel in a marvel set,
I answer to the vast, as wave by wave
The sea of air goes over, dry or wet,
Or the full moon comes swimming from her cave
Or the great sun comes north; this myriad I
Tingle, not knowing how, yet wondering why.
First published in the Atlantic in 1916. (via andrew sullivan)