A Shot of Life

Alive in his stride as he strode to the door,
A-light with the memory of what went before,
And holding to purpose entirely right,
His hand gripped the handle—when out went the light!

He ducked and he spun as a shot split the air!
It shook through the walls, but he never did scare.
He pulled out his pistol and fired it twice,
And that was the end of that dictator, Vice.

Yes, Vice was his name, that foul communist thug;
He lay on his face on his bloody red rug.
Calm, Matt got up slowly and stood looking down
On Master Corruption of his old home town.

The next day the crowds came, applauding him some,
But most hung their heads down, as shameful or dumb.
Then Matt spoke aloud in a voice that was just,
“You fools, why did you in foul Vice put your trust?

“The laws that you’ve lived by are selfless decrees
That make each to other bend spirit and knees.
You gave and you gave, while your Vice raked it in;
He said he would let pure equality win.

“And now you’re all equal in lack of self-trust,
And never walk proud, but look down in the dust;
And now you are furtive, nor dare you to dare
To do your own thinking, or plan your own care.

“Well, that is all over; it’s now up to you
To fend for yourselves and live selfishly true.
The laws that dark Vice made are broken and banned,
The laws of the ego have taken command.

“To live for yourself by the work of your mind—
This here is the essence that’s in you assigned:
To never use fraud and to never use force,
To make independence the core of your course;

“To profit most highly, as much as you can,
And add to your joy in just being a man—
A man who is equal with others to trade
The lights of his thinking, creations he’s made;

“Full equal to joy in his able-ness great
That sets on his table what none can debate—
The food of his earnings, his effort made meat,
His spirit transformed in the cakes that are sweet.

“Full equal to love every word of his voice,
Full equal to cling to his own sovereign choice;
Yes, equal to spend every minute and hour
Developing everything in his own power.

“Now, that is your possible non-sacrifice,
If you will acknowledge that Vice was YOUR vice.
‘T was he you elected, ‘t was he you set high,
‘T was you who made living the life of a lie.

“One chance is now left you to make you amends,
One chance to make justice the best of all friends;
One chance and one choice to love life and stand tall,
Or turn against happiness once and for all.”

Alive in his stride as he strode like man should,
A-light with the knowledge that men could choose good,
Matt held to a purpose the young there could feel
As grazed by their foreheads a shot of ideal.

She stood by the fencepost beside the old place,
Her arms ‘cross her bosom, a question her face;
But as he came nearer, the swing of him strong,
Her hands flashed like birds out-of-nest to sing song!

Her eyes of dark gray like bright granite-glints shone,
And he knew that she was still living alone.
He stopped right before her, and hand reached for hand—
The grip of a lifetime was theirs to command.

Their kisses are secret, their words we can’t hear,
But up o’er the ranch-house a flag does appear.
It’s gold and it’s silver, with four words to see;
They’re written in blue and say, “I TRUST IN ME.”

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