O THOU slight word, most like to breath, and made
Of a few letters merely, what’s in thee,
Terror of flesh, the spirit’s ecstasy,
Mysterious, voiceless, shadow of a shade?
They that fear nothing else, of thee afraid,
Do call thee Sleep and Passing. Thou set’st free
Infinite shapes of all a man may be,
Yet at thy nothingness he shrinks dismayed.

If thou wert not, the Poets had been dumb,
And music silent. Yea, majestic Art
Had never sought and found her better part
Nor by the living eyes betrayed the heart.
Great prophecy were an unmeaning hum,
What-is no longer holding what’s-to-come.


I have wept for those who on this turning earth
Had lived more years than I—who were to me
The aim and goal of my felicity,
The dear reward of effort, crown of worth.
And I have wept for babes who died at birth,
Most deeply moved that I should never see
The flower and fruit of all the days to be,
A younger youth than mine, a merrier mirth.

But never ere this day I felt the sting
Of terror lest my burning tears should fall
For one who felt when first I felt the spring,
Heard from the wood the self-same cuckoo call,
Heard the same robin in the autumn sing,
Was one with me in life—in love—in all.


Bid me remember, O my gracious Lord,
The flattering words of love are merely breath!
O not in roses wreathe the shining sword,
Bid me remember, O my gracious Lord,
              The bitter taste of death!

Wrap not in clouds of dread for me that hour
When I must leave behind this house of clay,
When the grass withers and the shrunken flower!
Bid me, O Lord, in that most dreadful hour,
              Not fall, but fly away!

Ordained Servant Online, June-July, 2024.

Publication Information

Contact the Editor: Gregory Edward Reynolds

Editorial address: Dr. Gregory Edward Reynolds,
827 Chestnut St.
Manchester, NH 03104-2522
Telephone: 603-668-3069

Electronic mail: reynolds.1@opc.org

Submissions, Style Guide, and Citations


Editorial Policies

Copyright information

Ordained Servant: June–July 2024

End-of-Life Care

Also in this issue

Hospice and Palliative Care at the End of Life

The Voice of the Good Shepherd: Develop Your Whole Person in Three Areas, Chapter 15

Christianity and Nationalism: A Review Article

Flannery O’Connor Revisited: A Review Article

Download PDFDownload ePubArchive


+1 215 830 0900

Contact Form

Find a Church