My thoughts began with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Psalm of Life — published 1838. There are 2 stanza that stand out.
Life is real! Life is earnest!/And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,/Was not spoken of the soul.
Lives of great men all remind us/We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us/Footprints on the sands of time;
Longfellow did state in ’38
The grave is not life’s goal.
His writing terse in poetic verse
Spoke of the human soul.
And although he meant we must not lament
That death for each is planned:
May others inherit our life of merit
His “footprints in the sand,”
There’s more than that, this caveat,
When talking of the soul
I must agree in reality
That “the grave is not its goal,”
Beyond the veil there’s another trail
That extends that sacred strand.
I do not guess, I must confess;
There are hints within the sand.
The forest haunts, those endless taunts,
That continue to extol.
As nature sings of many things
That thrill the human soul.
We don’t outgrow, as well we know,
These things that are fraternal;
In sight and scent, not senescent,
Indeed, they are eternal.
The human heart is torn apart
When what it finds is lost.
A final breath that ends in death?
…Exacts so great a cost!
Love cannot conceive, I do believe,
That she in time is grounded;
She only grows which surely shows
Her spirit is unbounded!
So, to begin, let’s look within
There’s nowhere else to start.
And of the lore of forevermore?
Only ask your heart.