Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
VI. Consolation
Grief for the Dead
O HEARTS that never cease to yearn!
  O brimming tears that ne’er are dried!
The dead, though they depart, return
  As though they had not died!
The living are the only dead;        5
  The dead live,—nevermore to die;
And often, when we mourn them fled,
  They never were so nigh!
And though they lie beneath the waves,
  Or sleep within the churchyard dim,        10
(Ah! through how many different graves
  God’s children go to him!)—
Yet every grave gives up its dead
  Ere it is overgrown with grass;
Then why should hopeless tears be shed,        15
  Or need we cry, “Alas”?
Or why should Memory, veiled with gloom,
  And like a sorrowing mourner craped,
Sit weeping o’er an empty tomb,
  Whose captives have escaped?        20
’T is but a mound,—and will be mossed
  Whene’er the summer grass appears;
The loved, though wept, are never lost;
  We only lose—our tears!
Nay, Hope may whisper with the dead        25
  By bending forward where they are;
But Memory, with a backward tread,
  Communes with them afar.
The joys we lose are but forecast,
  And we shall find them all once more;        30
We look behind us for the Past,
  But lo! ’t is all before!

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