THANATOPSIS- From the Greek “thanatos” meaning “death” and the suffix “opsis” meaning “sight.” It is a contemplation or view of death.

The following is another poem written by my grandfather while on a naval ship in the South Pacific during WWII. He wrote a series of poems between 1943 and 1944 when he was all of 21 to 22 years old while out at sea.


When you are young as I am yet
It is so very easy to forget
That life is all so short and sweet
And all our dreams yet to complete
Seem just around the corner still
For us to beckon to our will
And death---death is far away
It holds no fear to mar our day
Death is a phantom not quite clear
A myth or mist that draws so near
And yet it never seems so real
Until it strikes and you can feel
The sudden clearing of one lost dream
And then it never has to seem
That death is all we have to meet
When down that lost and lonely street
We turn with all the fight of youth
At last to find eternal truth
Then I think with all my power
I’ll cling to every waking hour

I am amazed when I read my grandfather’s poetry. To think he was so young and in the middle of a war and he put all his thoughts to paper in prose. This man was the greatest man I have ever known, for so many reasons, and this is just one of them.

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