Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Life

Life! Ay, what is it? E’en a moment spun
    From cycles of eternity. And yet,
    What wrestling ’mid the fever and the fret
Of tangled purposes and hopes undone!
What affluence of love! What vict’ries won
    In agonies of silence, ere trust met
    A manifold fulfillment, and the wet,
Beseeching eyes saw splendors past the sun!
What struggle in the web of circumstance,
    And yearning in the wingèd music! All,
        One restless strife from fetters to be free;
Till, gathered to eternity’s expanse,
    Is that brief moment at the Father’s call.
        Life! Ay, at best, ’tis but a mystery!

Credit


This poem is in the public domain.

About this Poem


 “Life” was published in Ray’s book Sonnets (J. J. Little & Co., 1893).

Author


Henrietta Cordelia Ray

In 1876, Ray’s poem “Lincoln” was read at the unveiling of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington, D.C. Ray died in 1917.

Date Published: 2015-01-10

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/life-1