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What Is Dying?
Rev. Luther F. Beecher


I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails
to the morning breeze, and starts for the blue ocean.
is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her
she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky
come down to meet and mingle with each other.
Then someone at
my side says, “There! She’s gone!”
Gone where? Gone from my
sight--that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side,
and just as able to bear her load
of living freight to the place of her destination.
Her diminished
size is in me, and not in her.
And just at that moment when someone at my side says, “There! She’s gone!”
there are other eyes watching for her coming;
and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout: “There she

And that is--"dying."

This poem first appeared in the Northwestern Christian Advocate, July 13, 1904).
It is now in the public domain.


Rev. Luther F. Beecher (1813 - 1903) was a Baptist minister and temperance advocate born in Connecticut. A graduate of Yale, he was a cousin of Henry Ward Beecher. Rev. Beecher helped establish the Saratoga Female Seminary at Temple Grove, and served as its principal for several years.



Post New Comment:
Mary Lou Taylor:
I'll add this to William Stafford's poem, one that can be read at a memorial. And I'll think of you and your brother-in-law.
Posted 03/04/2017 01:10 PM
I would like to offer a big thank you to Captain Stanfield for inspiring Your Daily Poem. We are all the richer for it. And it's continued existence is an illustration of the meaning of this poem.
Posted 03/02/2017 01:18 PM
This is one I keep in my notebook--but now I can be assured I have the original version and author. Thanks.
Posted 03/02/2017 12:10 PM
Oh Jayne, this is beautiful, and such perfect timing. RIP to your brother-in-law who set you on such a marvellous path that we all get to share at YDP. Yesterday I got word that my friend and mentor, Jan de Bruyn, died on the 25th of Feb. He'd have been 99 next month. The day before that, I heard a cousin has just died. But they haven't really gone anywhere as long as we remember them. Peace to you and your family, and gracias.
Posted 03/02/2017 11:41 AM
Completely lovely. There is need for such a poem where I live. My copy will be well used. Thank you so much Jayne.,
Posted 03/02/2017 11:18 AM
Sending best wishes to your family at this time of loss. Thanks for this poem. I have loved it, but never knew anything more about it.
Posted 03/02/2017 10:44 AM
Janet Leahy:
My condolences to you Jayne, this poem is perfect for the occasion. Thank you.
Posted 03/02/2017 09:50 AM
Profound and beautiful! I am sorry to hear of your loss. Janice
Posted 03/02/2017 08:38 AM
Jayne, thank you for finding this poem and publishing it on YDP.
Posted 03/02/2017 08:03 AM
Gorgeous image. However, as a teacher, I wish he had left off the last line!
Posted 03/02/2017 07:10 AM
Posted 03/02/2017 06:02 AM
So simply and beautifully put!
Posted 03/02/2017 05:41 AM
So sorry for your loss, Jane. Thanks for sharing your family story and your research story.
Posted 03/02/2017 03:01 AM

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