Joshua Graves
Exploring the Collision of Culture & Faith
Waking Up to Death:
March 7, 2014

I read this poem my freshman year of college. And it absolutely slayed me. Pierced to the heart. I read it over and over and over again. This is from Shelley’s Mutability. It embraces the true paradox of the human condition.

The flower that smiles to-day

To-morrow dies;

All that we wish to stay

Tempts and then flies.

What is this world’s delight?

Lightning that mocks the night,

Brief even as bright.

Virtue, how frail it is!

Friendship how rare!

Love, how it sells poor bliss

For proud despair!

But we, though soon they fall,

Survive their joy, and all

Which ours we call. 

Whilst skies are blue and bright,

Whilst flowers are gay,

Whilst eyes that change ere night

Make glad the day;

Whilst yet the calm hours creep,

Dream thou—and from thy sleep

Then wake to weep.

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