The grave, it closing o'er the body dead,
Shut out forever from both sight and sense
The form and being of what once was man?
Is there not something left of life__some thought
Or aspiration which survives the tomb;
Some hope. or purpose__some undying: love,
To span the chasm between life and death?
* * * * * *
What do we honor by these solemn rites?
The dust and ashes of the earthly forms,
Dissolved and scattered at the touch of death?
Can these see beauty in the bloom of flowers?
Are these attuned to harmony of song?
Or hear they words of sacred, holy prayer?
Our homage rather, with its song and praise,
Like incense rising from an altar fire,
Ascending upwards from the lifeless clay,
Seeks out its object in the vital spark
Which glow with radiance of immortal light__
The MAN that liveth when the body dies!
The glorious, purpose that inspired the life__
The aspirations toward the good and true__
The deeds of valor__and the acts of love__
The priceless offerings at freedom's shrine!
These we may honor__these be deathless things__
Ourselves we honor, while we honor them.
Earth unto earth!
And yet it not all__there still remains,
Surviving matter in its changing forms,