What Is Life?

By Joseph Latimer


What is life? A passing shadow
Fleeting o’er the sands of time,
Swiftly dying, soon forgotten,
Like the echo of a chime.
As a ripple of the ocean
Breaks in foam upon the strand;
As the waters wildly raging
After storm are soon becalmed.

What is life? ‘Tis but a picture
Swiftly passing out of sight,
Leaving but a dim remembrance
Like a vision of the night,
Giving us ecstatic pleasure,
Giving us exquisite pain;
But forgotten in the morning
Like a phantom of the brain.

What is life? A chord of music
Dying swiftly on the air,
Leaving but a slight vibration
To remind us it was there;
As a cloud on the horizon
Is dissolved before the wind,
As the winter snows are melted
Leaving not a trace behind.

What is life? A lone spark flickering
Momentarily, then is dead,
Like a little pearly raindrop
On a burning desert shed;
As a blossom in the summer
First it will flourish, then decay,
So it is predestined
Like will fastly fade away.

What is life? ‘Tis the aurora
That illumes the polar night,
Fading quickly, leaving darkness
Where it’s streamers shone so bright.
As a short-lived radiant meteor
Through the sky will swiftly pass,
Life is surely “but a vapour,”
And we wither as the grass.