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George Gray

by Edgar Lee Masters, 1916

I have studied many times
 The marble which was chiseled for me—
 A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
 In truth it pictures not my destination
 But my life.
 For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
 Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
 Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
 Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
 And now I know that we must lift the sail
 And catch the winds of destiny
 Wherever they drive the boat.
 To put meaning in one's life may end in madness,
 But life without meaning is the torture
 Of restlessness and vague desire—
 It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

Published in Spoon River Anthology
Tags: ambition

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