Time to Come

By Walt Whitman 1819–1892 Walt Whitman
O, Death! a black and pierceless pall
    Hangs round thee, and the future state;
No eye may see, no mind may grasp
    That mystery of fate.

This braid, which now alternate throbs
    With swelling hope and gloomy fear;
This heart, with all the changing hues,   
    That mortal passions bear—

This curious frame of human mould,
    Where unrequited cravings play,
This brain, and heart, and wondrous form
    Must all alike decay.

The leaping blood will stop its flow;
    The hoarse death-struggle pass; the cheek
Lay bloomless, and the liquid tongue
    Will then forget to speak.

The grave will tame me; earth will close
    O’er cold dull limbs and ashy face;
But where, O, Nature, where shall be
    The soul’s abiding place?

Will it e’en live? For though its light
    Must shine till from the body town;
Then, when the oil of life is spent,   
    Still shall the taper burn?

O, powerless is this struggling brain
    To rend the mighty mystery;
In dark, uncertain awe it waits
    The common doom, to die.

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Poet Walt Whitman 1819–1892

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Death, Time & Brevity, Religion, Faith & Doubt, Nature, The Body