In a churchyard old and still,
Where the breeze-touched branches thrill
To and fro,
Giant oak trees blend their shade
O'er a sunken grave-mound, made
No stone, crumbling at its head,
Bears the mossed name of the dead
But a myriad blossoms' grace
Clothes with trembling light the place
Of his sleep.
Was a young man in his strength
Laid beneath this low mound's length,
Did a maiden's parents wail
As they saw her, pulseless, pale,
Was it else one full of days,
Who had traveled darksome ways,
And was tired,
Who looked forth unto the end,
And saw Death come as a friend
Who it was that rests below
Not earth's wisest now may know,
Or can tell;
But these blossoms witness bear
They who laid the sleeper there
Loved him well.
In the dust that closed him o'er
Planted they the garden store
Deemed most sweet,
Till the fragrant gleam, outspread,
Swept in beauty from his head
To his feet.
Still, in early springtime's glow,
Guelder-roses cast their snow
O'er his rest;
Still sweet-williams breathe perfume
Where the peonies' crimson bloom
Drapes his breast.
Passing stranger, pity not
Him who lies here, all forgot,
'Neath this earth;
Some one loved him—more can fall
To no mortal. Love is all
Life is worth.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 10, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.