There Is No Death
John Luckey McCreery
There is no death! The stars go down
To rise upon some other shore,
And bright in heaven's jeweled crown
They shine for evermore.
There is no death! The dust we tread
Shall change beneath the summer showers
To golden grain or mellow fruit
Or rainbow-tinted flowers.
The granite rocks disorganize
To feed the hungry moss they bear;
The forest leaves drink daily life
From out the viewless air.
There is no death! The leaves may fall,
And flowers may fade and pass away --
They only wait, through wintry hours,
The coming of the May.
There is no death! An angel form
Walks o’er the earth with silent tread;
He bears our best-loved things away,
And then we call them “dead.”
He leaves our hearts all desolate --
He plucks our fairest, sweetest flowers;
Transplanted into bliss, they now
Adorn immortal bowers.
The bird-like voice, whose joyous tones
Made glad this scene of sin and strife,
Sings now an everlasting song
Amid the tree of life.
Where’er He sees a smile too bright,
Or soul too pure for taint of vice,
He bears it to that world of light,
To dwell in Paradise.
Born unto that undying life,
They leave us but to come again;
With joy we welcome them -- the same
Except in sin and pain.
And ever near us, though unseen,
The dear immortal spirits tread;
For all the boundless universe
Is Life -- there is no dead!
Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Burton E. Stevenson, Famous Single Poems and the Controversies Which Have Raged Around Them (London: George G. Harrap, 1924): 11-12. First published in Arthur's Home Journal (July 1863).
First publication date: 1863
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/8/12