The Watchers

by Arlo Bates

Arlo Bates

WE must be nobler for our dead, be sure,
Than for the quick. We might their living eyes
Deceive with gloss of seeming; but all lies
Were vain to cheat a prescience spirit-pure.
Our soul's true worth and aim, however poor,
They see who watch us from some deathless skies
With glance death-quickened. That no sad surprise
Sting them in seeing, be ours to secure.
Living, our loved ones make us what they dream;
Dead, if they see, they know us as we are.
Henceforward we must be, not merely seem.
Bitterer woe than death it were by far
To fail their hopes who love us to redeem;
Loss were thrice loss that thus their faith should mar.

Last updated May 12, 2023