THE STRANGER
Death will undo the body
And the body’s hope of time;
Death will undo
Faith that depends on another’s word
    And has not felt the fire,
Credulity that passes for belief,
The airy gallantry,the phantasies
    Of the enthusing spirit,
Promise and pretension and pretences-
    Death will undo all of these.
    All these are gossamer,
        There yet remains
The indestructible principle,
            the stranger,
Little regarded in the masque of life,
    But now, as blood turns cold,
    One by whose eye we see
                Essential things,
        One by whose nature
WE know ourselves undying.
         One by whose word,
         had we but heeded it,
We might have understood
            much earlier
What only now we know.
Death frees the stranger in us.
             He is I
My thanks to David Browning for sending me this poem. It comes from a rare, out-of-print book of channeled poems, The Ungainsayable Presence, by the English scholar “Tristram.”