Week 255: Passing The Graveyard, by Andrew Young

A characteristically neat and reflective piece from Scots poet and clergyman Andrew Young (1885-1971), which turns on the question of what exactly it is that constitutes our personal identity and sense of self; an interesting one even if those of us not blessed with a religious faith may feel that whatever it is, the chances of it surviving our physical demise in any form are pretty slim.

Passing The Graveyard

I see you did not try to save
The bouquet of white flowers I gave;
So fast they wither on your grave.

Why does it hurt the heart to think
Of that most bitter abrupt brink
Where the low-shouldered coffins sink?

These living bodies that we wear
So change by every seventh year
That in a new dress we appear.

Limbs, spongy brain and slogging heart,
No part remains the selfsame part;
Like streams they stay and still depart.

You slipped slow bodies in the past;
Then why should we be so aghast
You flung off the whole flesh at last?

Let him who loves you think instead
That like a woman who has wed
You undressed first and went to bed.

Andrew Young

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