I’ve been thinking about death lately as I’ve witness a friend’s body succumb to cancer. In particular I’ve been reflecting on a poem by metaphysical poet, George Herbert which is entitled, “Death.” I’ve taken liberties with updating the spelling and language.
Death, you were once an uncouth, hideous thing,
Nothing but bones,
The sad effect of sadder groans:
Your mouth was open, but you could not sing.
For we consider’d you at some six or
Or ten years hence
After loss of life and sense,
Flesh being turn’d to dust, and bones to sticks.
We looked on this side of thee, shooting short;
Where we did find
The shells of fledge souls left behind,
Dry dust, which sheds no tears, but may extort.
But since our Savior’s death did put some blood
Into your face;
You are grown fair and full of grace,
Much in request, much sought for, as a good.
For we do now behold you gay and glad,
As at dooms-day;
When souls shall wear their new aray,
And all thy bones with beauty shall be clad.
Therefore we can go die as sleep, and trust
Half that we have
Unto an honest faithful grave;
Making our pillows either down or dust.