The rock is smooth.  It faintly shines,

Containing in itself some residue of light

That down the ages suns

Succeeding suns, have shed on it.

The rock is smooth, rounded by seas

That day by day have worked on it,

Planing its first sharp edges

On perpetually shifting shelves and ledges

With infinite patience.

Ceaseless is the play

Of sun and seas,

Of wind and rains,

And by degrees

It loses self to mingle with the sand

Under creation’s hand.

Seemingly obdurate, at length it wanes,

Slowly dissolving.


So is man’s soul, others involving,

At first defiant, braving heaven’s attacks,

Luminous with natal light,

Bristing with individuality,

Suffers in time to the conforming touch,

And under such

Loses its substance in the endless grind,

Till ultimately it is absorbed, refined,

By the consuming power that gave it birth,

Returns to earth

Into the elements whence it came,

Without distinctive mark, without a name.