By Walter De La Mare

By chance my fingers, resting on my face,
Stayed suddenly where in its orbit shone
The lamp of all things beautiful; then on,
Following more heedfully, did softly trace
Each arch and prominence and hollow place
That shall revealed be when all else is gone –
Warmth, colour, roundness – to oblivion,
And nothing left but darkness and disgrace.

Life like a moment passed seemed then to be;
A transient dream this raiment that it wore;
While spelled my hand out its mortality
Made certain all that had seemed doubt before:
Proved – O how vaguely, yet how lucidly! –
How much death does; and yet can do no more.

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