Saturday, September 17, 2011

Grandmother's Death: A Poem

Dark looms the ivy-mantled tower
Among the spreading trees,
While round its ever-crumbling base
Are tombstones, thick as bees.
Within a tiny sheltered nook,
Close to its towering walls,
Where early snowdrops rear their heads,
And soft the footstep falls.
Two graves are laid—one old, one new,
Removed from toil and care,
Upon the grassy, verdant sward,
Alloting each their share.
Above those graves, already green,
Lov'd hands have strewn the flowers,
That grow in beauty o'er their heads
Sweet freshened by the showers.
In silence laid from years gone by
Contented there they sleep;
No busy din disturbs their rest
Save they that lowly weep
In silence, o'er those loved forms,
From which they cannot part,
Whose bitter, scalding tears denote
The grieving, aching heart.
They're gone before —why should we weep,
Why shed those bitter tears?
'Tis only for a brief, brief space,
A few short speeding years
E'er we, ourselves, shall lowly lie
Beneath that self-same sod;
Our dust shall find its resting-place,
Our souls shall find their God.
So, gentle mother, do not weep,
But rather joyous be,
That loved face beams down from Heaven
And showers her smiles on thee.
Unseen, thou can'st not see her
Upon that radiant shore;
No longer aged, there she stands,
As seen in days of yore.
She's young again—age hath no power
To dim her beauties bright;
No toil, no care, no death to fear,
No darkness deep as night.
Enshrouding round her feeble form,
Or tottering footsteps, there,
Before her Lord, she's face to face,
His Heavenly glories share.
So, gentle mother, do not weep,
But rather joyous be
To think that when the summons came
She answered cheerfully.
She could not wait—she could not stay,
It was her lord's command;
That longed-for welcome sent from Heaven
Sent from the Better Land.
O! death, thy sting—thy cruel sting
May touch this earthly mold,
But never can thy palzying hand
The soul within enfold.
Thou dar'st not touch—thou can'st not touch,
Immortal is its flight,
Towards the shores of purest sand
And sparkling waters bright.
Escorted by the angels fair
Towards that home of rest;
Within the pearly gates of gold,
Within the Saviour's breast.

-- William Handling

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