Sonnet on the Instuments of Death

David Park Barnitz

Adorned daggers, ruby-hilted swords;
Huge mortal serpents in gold volumes roll'd;
All-holy poisons in wrought cups of gold;
Unfailing crucifixes of strong cords;

Mortal baptismal waters without fords,
Wherein lie death's communicants untold—
Which of these instruments blessed and old,
Is meetest for life's purple-robed lords?

Ye that commune in death's ciborium,
Of all the vessels in his sacristy
Which will ye choose to make of you a clod—

Sharp swords, bright lightnings, orient opium?—
All these, brave souls, are of one sanctity;
All ways are good whereby ye pass to God.

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