Great Legacy Poems

  • Great Legacy Poem – Wake by Langston Hughes

    Tell all my mourners To mourn in red — Cause there ain’t no sense In my bein’ dead. Langston Hughes, (1902 – 1967)

  • Great Legacy Poem – To One Shortly to Die by Walt Whitman

    From all the rest I single out you, having a message for you, You are to die–let others tell you what they please, I cannot prevaricate, I am exact and merciless, but I love you–there is no escape for you. Softly I lay my right hand upon you, you ‘ust feel it, I do not argue, I bend my head close and half envelop it, I sit quietly by, I remain faithful, I am more than nurse, more than parent or neighbor, I absolve you from all except yourself spiritual bodily, that is eternal, you yourself will surely escape, The corpse you will leave will be but excrementitious. The sun bursts through in unlooked-for directions, Strong thoughts fill you and confidence, you smile, You forget you are sick, as I forget you are sick, You do not see the medicines, you do not mind the weeping friends, I am with you, I exclude others from you, there is nothing to be commiserated, I do not commiserate, I congratulate you. Walt Whitman, (1819 – 1892)  

  • Great Legacy Poem – To a Dead Man by Carl Sandburg

    Over the dead line we have called to you To come across with a word to us, Some beaten whisper of what happens Where you are over the dead line Deaf to our calls and voiceless. The flickering shadows have not answered Nor your lips sent a signal Whether love talks and roses grow And the sun breaks at morning Splattering the sea with crimson. Carl Sandburg, (1878 – 1967)  

  • Great Legacy Poem – Till The End by Emily Dickinson

    I should not dare to leave my friend, Because — because if he should die While I was gone, and I — too late — Should reach the heart that wanted me;   If I should disappoint the eyes That hunted, hunted so, to see, And could not bear to shut until They “noticed” me — they noticed me;   If I should stab the patient faith So sure I ‘d come — so sure I ‘d come, It listening, listening, went to sleep Telling my tardy name, —   My heart would wish it broke before, Since breaking then, since breaking then, Were useless as next morning’s sun, Where midnight frosts had lain!   Emily Dickinson, (1830 – 1886)  

  • Great Legacy Poem – The Last Night That She Lived by Emily Dickinson

    The last night that she lived, It was a common night, Except the dying; this to us Made nature different.   We noticed smallest things, — Things overlooked before, By this great light upon our minds Italicized, as ‘t were.   That others could exist While she must finish quite, A jealousy for her arose So nearly infinite.   We waited while she passed; It was a narrow time, Too jostled were our souls to speak, At length the notice came.   She mentioned, and forgot; Then lightly as a reed Bent to the water, shivered scarce, Consented, and was dead.   And we, we placed the hair, And drew the head erect; And then an awful leisure was, Our faith to regulate.   Emily Dickinson, (1830 – 1886)  

  • Great Legacy Poem – The Journey by Emily Dickinson

    Our journey had advanced; Our feet were almost come To that odd fork in Being’s road, Eternity by term.   Our pace took sudden awe, Our feet reluctant led. Before were cities, but between, The forest of the dead.   Retreat was out of hope, — Behind, a sealed route, Eternity’s white flag before, And God at every gate.   Emily Dickinson  

  • Great Legacy Poem – The Funeral by Sean Joyce

    Weasel words with easy starts are not the first ones to our hearts when the cold cadaver light of day takes one of those we love away   After the funeral – when the funeral was over – After we had buried him   We walked across the grass …We walked across the grass leaving footprints in the dew   footprints in the dew How was that possible ’God’s name how was that possible   with him forever And now, forever footprints forever   looking back across the grass The warmth of the day losing us all, forever   Sean Joyce  

  • Great Legacy Poem – She, At His Funeral by Thomas Hardy

    THEY bear him to his resting-place— In slow procession sweeping by; I follow at a stranger’s space; His kindred they, his sweetheart I.   Unchanged my gown of garish dye, Though sable-sad is their attire; But they stand round with griefless eye, Whilst my regret consumes like fire!   Thomas Hardy, 1840–1928  


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