by Joseph Blanco White (1775 – 1841)
Mysterious Night! when our first parent knew
Thee from report divine, and heard thy name,
Did he not tremble for this lovely frame,
This glorious canopy of light and blue?
Yet 'neath a curtain of translucent dew,
Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,
Hesperus with the host of heaven came,
And lo! Creation widened in man's view.
Who could have thought such darkness lay concealed
Within thy beams, O Sun! or who could find,
Whilst fly and leaf and insect stood revealed,
That to such countless orbs thou mad'st us blind!
Why do we then shun death with anxious strife?
If Light can thus deceive, wherefore not Life?
This poem was on the Classic Poetry Aloud podcast during the summer. A professor I had in college said that all poetry is about death, because most of it is about beauty, and you can't write about beauty without knowing that it's all temporary. This poem is explicitly about death, and urges us not to fear it, since it will bring us a wider view - a realization of all that life hides from us.
Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.
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