Friday, March 25, 2005



By George Herbert (1593-1633)
From The Complete English Poems

Death, thou wast once an uncouth hideous thing,
                            Nothing but bones,
            The sad effect of sadder groans:
Thy mouth was open, but thou couldst not sing.

For we considered thee as at some six
                            Or ten years hence,
            After the loss of life and sense,
Flesh being turned to dust, and bones to sticks.

We looked on this side of thee, shooting short;
                            Where we did find
            The shells of fledge souls left behind,
Dry dust, which sheds no tears, but may extort.

But since our Saviour's death did put some blood
                            Into thy face;
            Thou art grown fair and full of grace,
Much in request, much sought for, as a good.

For we do now behold thee gay and glad,
                            As at doomsday;
            When souls shall wear their new array,
And all thy bones with beauty shall be clad.

Therefore we can go die as sleep, and trust
                            Half that we have
            Unto an honest faithful grave;
Making our pillows either down, or dust.

Collective Improvisation:

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