The gods are dead, and only shrines remain;
The gods are dead, but still the Christs are slain;
The gods are dead, but priests yet work their will;
The gods are dead, but men must worship still.
The gods are dead, but Mystery is yet,
And fears and tears and drops of bitter sweat,
And these begot and these have slain the gods,
And these upheld and these shall break the rods.
The gods we made to help us in our need,
And gave them crowns and in their lips a creed,
But Pain crushed on and they helped not at all,
And so we turned and smiled to see them fall.
We in our minds make all things that we know
Of gods above or god-like powers below:
Kings, tyrants, lawyers, warrior or priest,
The millions serving and the few at feast.
Withhold our faith and all these things shall fall;
Like as the gods to whom our faith was all;
Make change within and outward there shall be
Fair field, free growth, and life in all things free.
From: Wind-harp songs (1895).