By George Sterling

The pain in Nature's plan
Is well, perhaps, for Man:
The brute's blind agonies—
What good shall they increase?
What Purpose shall she teach,
There on the foodless beach?—
The murre, the broken wing,
Mauled by the breaker's swing.
The horse's hoof is pressed
Deep in the young larks' nest.
The stags with antlers locked,
Perish with thirst long mocked.
The loosened boulder falls
Upon the ants' sunk halls.
Slow dies the stranded whale
Ringed by the sea-gull's wail.
Stung by the blinded snake,
The calf lies in the brake;
The snake, with broken back,
Writhes in the bullock's track.
The wren has died at morn
Upon the locust-thorn—
Impaled upon that spike
By the relentless shrike.
Gasping the fishes die
As the hot stream goes dry,
And in the forest-fire
What fledglings must expire!
Oh! look what way you will,
Torment and horror still
Are loosed on wordless life
In all the monstrous strife.
There is no justice here
Nor any good made clear.
Considering that Scheme,
Well might the muser dream
He saw on baleful skies
The glare of cruel Eyes,
And heard from pole to pole
An idiot Laughter roll.

Bibliography Entry