Poetry seems to be a frequent medium for expressing fear about death, hope for salvation, grief, loss, the effect of violence, and horrors of war. I grew to love poetry during college and have an affinity toward some of the darker works. This poem one of my favorites. It expresses a belief in an afterlife and hope for salvation. As a mortuary archaeologist, I read something entirely different through it. Death is not the end of life. It is merely a moment. Our corporeal beings have lives long after our spirits die and archaeology is the medium through which that life speaks.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
|DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee|
|Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,|
|For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,|
|Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.|
|From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,||5|
|Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,|
|And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,|
|Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.|
|Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,|
|And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,||10|
|And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,|
|And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;|
|One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,|
|And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.|