Guest poem sent in by Anustup Datta
(Poem #672) Death
It is not death, that sometime in a sigh This eloquent breath shall take its speechless flight; That sometime these bright stars, that now reply In sunlight to the sun, shall set in night; That this warm conscious flesh shall perish quite, And all life's ruddy springs forget to flow; That thoughts shall cease, and the immortal sprite Be lapp'd in alien clay and laid below; It is not death to know this -- but to know That pious thoughts, which visit at new graves In tender pilgrimage, will cease to go So duly and so oft -- and when grass waves Over the pass'd-away, there may be then No resurrection in the minds of men.
(1798-1845) Found this gem while going through the Oxford Book of English Verse, edited by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (Q to you <g>). Have not read Hood before in any depth, but this sonnet appeared to me a really polished example of poetic craftsmanship - not an image or a word out of place, and a wonderfully strong metre. Death is a melancholy reflection of how the inexorable passage of time dulls human memory - dying is complete when there is "No resurrection in the minds of men." This could be a companion piece to Silence, another Hood sonnet done earlier on Minstrels (Poem #513). Regards, Anustup