Old Jones Is Dead

I SAT in my window, high overhead,
And heard them say, below in the street,
“I suppose you know that old Jones is dead?”
Then the speakers passed, and I heard their feet
Heedlessly walking their onward way,—
“Dead!” what more could there be to say?

But I sat and pondered what it might mean
Thus to be dead while the world went by:
Did Jones see farther than we have seen?
Was he one with the stars in the watching sky?
Or down there under the growing grass
Did he hear the feet of the daylight pass?

Were daytime and night-time as one to him now,
And grieving and hoping a tale that is told?
A kiss on his lips, or a hand on his brow,
Could he feel them under the church-yard mould,
As he surely had felt them his whole life long,
Though they passed with his youth-time, hot and strong?

They called him “Old Jones” when at last he died;
“Old Jones” he had been for many a year;
Yet his faithful memory Time defied,
And dwelt in the days so distant and dear,
When first he had found that love was sweet
And recked not the speed of its hurrying feet.

Does he brood, in the long night under the sod,
On the joys and sorrows he used to know;
Or far in some wonderful world of God,
Where the shining seraphs stand, row on row,
Does he wake like a child at the daylight's gleam,
And know that the past was a night's short dream?

Is he dead, and a clod there, down below;
Or dead and wiser than any alive;
Which? Ah, who of us all may know,
Or who can say how the dead folk thrive?—
But the summer morning is cool and sweet,
And I hear the live folk laugh in the street.
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