Prayer by His Deathbed

Prayer by His Deathbed

Tawny , gold , ginger, faded green and rust
The trees emboss these patchwork hills of Kent ;
For one brief season is this glory lent :
No leaf of all the multitudes but must
Compound with dunghill mould and churchyard dust ;
No leaf but dies content .
For each and all the earthly task is done ,
The glory won .

Why then does man with sharper sorrow yield
Corpse to the coffin , ashes to the urn ?
Death and decay breed life , and life in turn
To death resigning richens every field :
In life is death , in death is life concealed .
Lord merciful and stern ,
Our bodies dead as living must fulfil
Thy perfect will .

What autumn glory can he offer now
Whose soul hangs lightly , eager to depart ?
The glorious Lord , who ever changeless art ,
Thy tenderness shown infinite when Thou
With rain empearlest every barren bough ,
Transfigure now his heart :
Be Thine the glory earth and heaven adore
For ever more .

15 November 1953