Man Alone

To revere man’s individual soul
Is to worship the will-to-think which makes him whole.
To revile his independent mind
Is to love self-beat obediance self-assigned,
And to kneel to nothing good or rare or right,
But only beast-like stares that see no day past night.

To respect man’s individual self
Is to love his joy-of-life sent to excel
All the obstacles he mounts in reaching greater gain
Of the healthiest happy things beyond all pain,
And with mastery of sure competence his guide,
Lift him self-heroic on strong-willed wings of pride.

Here no pity, no compassionate consolation, seek
To offer alms upon a sufferer lost and poor and meek,
Whose confessing faults beget him praise for self-less woe,
Just so long as he’ll pray and pay for their fake show
And betray his knowing to men who do not know.

To revere man’s individual soul
Is to take him straight as so selfishly responsible
That he’ll push himself to pursue the best in everything,
To revere great men, and of man’s glory self-unfearing sing!

No religion can praise the soul of man;
No low priest or minister can see aught of good
In a man who loves his mind, judging, as he should,
The material things of earth and air and sky
After asking what they are, how to use and ply.

No religion can ever know what’s true;
It has shut itself in darkness. It seeks no light
But the shadow of a ghost in dreariest night
That lies wailing for the self’s soul it has betrayed
And the future it now hides from, blind and afraid.

For man’s soul of focused reason, thought,
Is the opposite of foggiest feeling, faith;
It partakes the side of life, while faith goes with death.
Man, clear-eyed and clear-hearing, thinking to the full,
All alone bursting through the world, is beautiful!

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