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,
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.