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I sent my soul through the invisible,
some inkling of the afterlife to tell:
and by and by my soul returned to me
and answered “You yourself are Heaven and Hell.”
Heaven is but the vision of fulfilled desire,
and Hell the nightmare of a heart on fire
— phantasms that flit across the endless night
from whence we came, and to where we shall retire.
We are no other than a moving row
of dancing shadow-shapes that come and go
upon a magic lantern held aloft
in midnight by the Master of the Show.
We are mere pieces of the game He plays
upon a checkerboard of nights and days;
hither and thither he moves, and checks, and slays,
and one by one back in the closet lays.
The ball no question makes of ayes and noes,
but here or there as strikes the player goes;
and He that tossed you down into the field,
He knows about it all — we think He knows!