I found myself in James’s Great Good Place
or Cambridge, perhaps, a hundred years ago:
long days of Spring, tall elms, unhurried youths,
huge halls of soft stone aging in the sun.
I tried to understand how I had come here.
Was this mild place my proper destination?
Was it a fraud? Or some odd stop-off point
along a further road I yet must travel?

In a great mess-hall underneath dim flags
I sat at table between you, my good friends:
you priestly at the head, expounding, smiling—
you at my right, extending gentle hands.
We solved the world’s great Riddle then, so deftly
I knew when I awoke I’d neared the end.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 20 Number 1, on page 77
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