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Death -- Thomas Hood

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.
-- Thomas Hood

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).


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