THERE is no tragedy in death unless
Ignobly met. You do not cringe to him.
Daily reslain by pain and weariness,
The body broken but the spirit grim,
You yield no compromise to fear; bereft
Even of solace for oblivion;
For, suffering, you doubt that God is left,
But crave the sweet compassion of His Son.
He whom the senseless savagery of pain
Taught love and courage, lays His hand across
Your eyes, and bids you feel again
The pity He felt, hanging from the Cross,
For men bewildered and condemned to face
The dreadful magnitudes of time and space.


Now is death merciful. He calls me hence
Gentle, with friendly soothing of my fears
Of ugly age and feeble impotence
And cruel disintegration of slow years.
Nor does he leap upon me unaware
Like some wild beast that hungers for its prey,
But gives me kindly warning to prepare:
Before I go, to kiss your tears away.
How sweet the summer! And the autumn shone
Late warmth within our hearts as in the sky,
Ripening rich harvests that our love had sown.
How good that ere the winter comes, I die!
Then, ageless, in your heart I’ll come to rest
Serene and proud as when you loved me best.
R. S.