Ina Donna Coolbrith (1842-1929)

return to sonnet central return to the Victorian period

The first poet laureate of California, good friend of Bret Harte, Mark Twain and Joaquin Miller, Ina Donna Coolbrith started Jack London on his writing career. (Thanks to Sue Allen for this information.)

Beside the Dead

With hands that folded are from every task,
It must be sweet, O thou my dead, to lie
Sealed with the seal of the great mystery,--
The lips that nothing answer, nothing ask;
The life-long struggle ended; ended quite
The weariness of patience and of pain;
And the eyes closed to open not again
On desolate dawn or dreariness of night.
It must be sweet to slumber and forget;
To have the poor tired heart so still at last:
Done with all yearning, done with all regret;
Doubt, fear, hope, sorrow, all for ever past:
Past all the hours, or slow of wing or fleet--
It must be sweet, it must be very sweet!

(Text from The Book of Sorrow)