Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DEATH IN YOUTH, by GEORGE CABOT LODGE



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DEATH IN YOUTH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Thy lips grow cold against the lips of death
Last Line: While death prepares the spiritual day.
Subject(s): Death; Youth; Dead, The


Thy lips grow cold against the lips of death,
And peace shall come: -- be mild and unafraid!
Then, in the silence, like a tender breath,
Life's bloom of fever on thy cheeks shall fade
As now the sunset's weariest saffron slips
Over the moveless pallor of thy lips.

What tho' the lips of love are wet with tears?
Life was, thou sayest, magnificent and mine!
Youth was possessed of dreams, the abundant years
Thrilled like the freshness of a native wine!
Behold! The hope of life is death, the goal
Death that at last leads outward to the soul.

Haply forgetfulness shall come. Behold!
Day is a dream that haunts the elder night.
Still is the earth so young and thou so old,
Mute with thy memories flashed like shafts of light
Thro' rain-swept days forlorn with beaten bells,
Thy memories near and real as miracles.

As Life is stern be merciful and mild,
Solemn with joy as Life laughs loud with pain,
Silent as life is shrill -- O dying child,
Be all life is not, then was life not vain
Since soul proves victor when the fight is fought
And peace returns, profound and void of thought.

Banish the keen regret, the foolish tears,
Salt on the kiss that burned thy longing mouth!
Wisdom shall soon be perfect: all thy years
Harvest blown ashes of the gods of youth.
Now shall thy grief refrain, thy passions cease:
Silence has come and in the silence peace!

Thou must forget or else it were vain to die,
Death with thy memories is not death at all;
Passion and pain and pleasure; thou and I,
Life and its longings, must, beyond recall,
Cease or unite or merge and death must come
Like seaward wind that takes the rain-drop home.

Death shall forget tho' life's immortal power
That gave thee strength to bear thy human fate
Suffer and strive. Thro' death the mystic flower
Of soul expands until thy youth's wise hate
Of life has utterly passed in love away,
While death prepares the spiritual day.





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