The smooth round stone lies coolly in my hand,
Its whorls and scars glint, clipped from mountain’s scree,
Erosion’s circles formed by softest sand,
In river pools falling into the sea.
From sediments pressed before old Adam—
Stars in the heavens are more juvenile.
My bones will be gone, my grave forgotten,

When my stone will form eternity’s dial.
The temporary holds the permanent,
Massed dust and fluid gainsays gravity,
A blink pretends it is not transient;
Dirt relinquishes immortality.

’Tis grace to know such fleetingness at last.
I cling to the tower; God holds me fast.


“In all that ruin of the world for the moment he felt only joy, great joy.”
JRR Tolkien, Return of the King, VI.3