Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WHY LIFE IS SWEET, by LUCY LARCOM



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WHY LIFE IS SWEET, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Because it cometh up, a heavenly flower
Last Line: Sweet, sweet is life! He hath abolished death!
Subject(s): Immortality; Jesus Christ; Life


BECAUSE it cometh up, a heavenly flower,
Out of the earth, divinely sown therein,
To gather grace from shadow and from shower,
And freshness of invisible worlds to win
Unto itself, -- not to be hoarded there,
But for the sweetening of the common air.
Because it breathes in and exhales God's breath,
Its natural atmosphere, and so grows strong
To root itself amid decay and death,
And lift its head above the poisonous Wrong,
And, with her far-reaching fibres, push apart
The noisome evils clutching at Earth's heart.
It is not sweet, but bitter, sad, and vain,
Living in shows of what we are or do;
The after-taste of selfishness is pain:
In hearts that grovel, hope must grovel, too;
Ever our petty falsehoods deathward tend,
Leave us defeated, cheated of life's end.
It is not sweet to compass our low aim,
And sicken of it; nor to trail the wing
In dust, whereon celestial dawn should flame.
Even love, sin-touched, is an unwholesome thing,
A growth reversed, blight clinging into blight;
Love, meant to hallow all things with its light.
To live! to find our life in nobler lives,
Baptized with them in dews of holiness:
Strengthened, upraised, by every soul that thrives
In the clear air of perfect righteousness,
And sheltering that which might for frailty die,
When, with hot feet, the whirlwind rushes by!
Oh, sweet to live, to love, and to aspire!
To know that whatsoever we attain,
Beyond the utmost summit of desire,
Heights upon heights eternally remain,
To humble us, to lift us up, to show
Into what luminous deeps we onward go.
Because the Perfect, evermore postponed,
Yet ever beckoning, is our only goal;
Because the deathless Love that sits enthroned
On changeless Truth, holds us in firm control;
Because within God's Heart our pulses beat;
Because His Law is holy, life is sweet!
Because it is of Him, His infinite gift;
Lost, but restored by One who came to share
His riches with our poverty, and lift
The human to the heavenly, everywhere;
Because in Christ we breathe immortal breath,
Sweet, sweet is life! He hath abolished death!





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