Christopher Pearse Cranch

(1815-1892 / the USA)

Sonnet Xxxi. Life And Death. 3. - Poem by Christopher Pearse Cranch

IF death be final, what is life, with all
Its lavish promises, its thwarted aims,
Its lost ideals, its dishonored claims,
Its uncompleted growth? A prison wall,
Whose heartless stones but echo back our call;
An epitaph recording but our names;
A puppet-stage where joys and griefs and shames
Furnish a demon jester's carnival;
A plan without a purpose or a form;
A footless temple; an unfinished tale.
And men like madrepores through calm and storm
Toil, die to build a branch of fossil frail,
And add from all their dreams, thoughts, acts, belief,
A few more inches to a coral-reef.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 24, 2010



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