Here is a verse composed by Henry Van Dyke Jr “For Katrina’s Sundial”
Too slow for those who Wait,
Too swift for those who Fear,
Too long for those who Grieve,
Too short for those who Rejoice,
But for those who Love,
Time is not
There is a huge bank of sundial poetry and mottoes. Many of the epigrams are in latin. Most are about time, how we use it, how short it is, how our lives are fleeting things. I also like this poem from Van Dyke where he uses the ship as a metaphor for the life of a person. Ships as symbols for death are not uncommon. Perhaps the clearest examples we have are from Pharaonic and Viking burials. I attach a couple of good examples at the bottom.
Van Dyke was born on November 10th, so I am belatedly wishing him a happy birthday.
Gone from my sight: by Henry Van Dyke
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, ‘There, she is gone’
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me – not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, ‘There, she is gone,’
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, ‘Here she comes!’
And that is dying…
Death comes in its own time, in its own way.
Death is as unique as the individual experiencing it.