Death

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so:
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure, than from thee much more must flow;
And soonest our best men with thee do go--
Rest of their bones and souls' delivery!
Thou'rt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke. Why swell'st thou then?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shall die.

-- John Donne

The Rose Still Grows Beyond the Wall

Near a shady wall a rose once grew.
Budded and blossomed in God's free light.
Watered and fed by morning dew.
Shedding its sweetness day and night.

As it grew and blossomed fair and tall.
Slowly rising to loftier height.
It came to a crevice in the wall.
Through which there shone a beam of light.

Onward it crept with added strength,
With never a thought of fear or pride.
It followed the light through the crevice's length
And unfolded itself on the other side.

The light, the dew, the broadening view
Were found the same as they wer before;
And it lost itself in beauties new,
Breathing its fragrance more and more.

Shall claim of death cause us to grieve,
And make our courage faint or fail?
Nay! Let us faith and hope receive:
The rose still grows beyond the wall.

Scattering fragrance far and wide.
Just ast it did in days of yore.
Just as it did on the other side,
 Just as it will for evermore.

-- A. L. Frink

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow;
I am the gentle automn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush.
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there; I did not die.

-- Unknown

There Is No Death

There is no death! The stars go down
To rise upon some other shore,
And bright in heaven's jewelled crown
They shine forevermore.

There is no death! The forest leaves
Convert to life the viewless air;
The rocks disorganize to feed
The hungry moss they bear.

There is no death! The dust we tread
Shall change, beneath the summer showers
To golden grain, or mellowed fruit,
Or rainbow-tinted flowers.

There is no death! The leaves may fall,
And flowers may fade and pass away--
They only wait, though wintry hours,
The wam, sweet breath of May.

There is no death! The choicest gifts
That heaven hath kindly lent to earth
Are ever first to seek again
The country of their birth.

And all things that for growth or joy
Are worthy of our love or care,
Whose loss has left us desolate,
Are safely garnered there.

Though life becomes a desert waste
We know its fairest, sweetest flowers,
Transplanted into Paradise,
Adorn immortal bowers.

The voice of birdlike melody
That we have missed and mourned so long,
Now mingles with the angel choir
In everlasting song.

There is no death! Although we grieve
When beautiful familiar forms
That we have learned to love are torn
From our embracing arms--

Although with bowed and breaking heart,
With sable garb and silent tread,
We bear their senseless dust to rest,
And say that they are "dead,"

They are not dead! They have but passed
Beyond the mists that blind us here
Into the new and larger life
Of that serener sphere.

They have but dropped their robe of clay
To put their shining raiment on;
They have not wandered far away--
They are not "lost" nor "gone."

Though disenthralled and glorified
They still are here and love us yet;
The dear ones they have left behind
They never can forget.

And sometimes, when our hearts grow faint
Amid temptations fierce and deep,
Or when the wildly raging waves
Of grief or passion sweep,

We feel upon our fevered brow
Their gentle touch, their breath of balm;
Their arms enfold us, and our hearts
Grow comforted and calm.

And ever near us, though unseen,
The dear, immortal spirits tread--
For all the boundles universe
Is Life--there are no dead!

-- J.L. McCreery