I leave these frail and perishable leaves;
To rot just where they fall. The seed I’ve sown
And you take to the mould, perhaps may rise;
Although what fruit to bear I cannot say.
And as for me, who made this papyrus
To lay my aching head on bed of reeds,
Will I – in crumbling cradle quietly
Asleep, my pains all parked and epitaphed
Outside that trench dug deep to shield my shell
Against all shocks – will I unready then
Grow tongue to shape a curse on that grim Day
When an archangel’s voice might bellow down
Into my inert den? Will I be born
Again, the life-force thawing my cold blood,
Its swell conveying me to God knows where?
For, “He who dies acquitted is of sin”,
The apostle says; but at this threatened doom,
My breath must state my case, accountable.
That case is this: I hope my wanton flesh
Did not degrade the hopes I here expressed . . . . . .
I hope my leaves heal you before they die,
As though from Tree of Life, and in our mould
Which harbours many seeds, I hope what is
Sown here will one day sprout to bear bright fruits
As beautiful as gems; and if the “will”
Of what will be’s replaced by “should”, then let
Unmade, thus made again, be all made good.
If here you find the truth of what we are
Well-charactered, then of your charity
As well as for yourself, now pray for me.