Wednesday, February 20, 2008

There Is No Death by J. L. McCreery

There is no death! The stars go down
To rise upon some other shore,
And bright in heaven's jeweled crown
They shine forevermore.

There is no death! The forest leaves
Convert to life the viewless air;
The rocks disorganize to feed
The hungry moss they bear.

There is no death! The dust we tread
Shall change, beneath the summer showers
To golden grain, or mellowed fruit,
Or rainbow-tinted flowers.

There is no death! The leaves may fall,
And flowers may fade and pass away--
They only wait, through wintry hours,
The warm, sweet breath of May.

There is no death! The choicest gifts
That heaven hath kindly lent to earth
Are ever first to seek again
The country of their birth.

And all things that for growth or joy
Are worthy of our love or care,
Whose loss has left us desolate,
Are safely garnered there.

Though life becomes a desert waste,
We know it's fairest, sweetest flowers,
Transplanted into Paradise,
Adorn immortal bowers.

The voice of birdlike melody
That we have missed and mourned so long,
Now mingles with the angel choir
In everlasting song.

There is no death! Although we grieve
When beautiful, familiar forms
That we have learned to love are torn
From our embracing arms--

Although with bowed and breaking heart,
With sable garb and silent tread,
We bear their senseless dust to rest,
And say that they are "dead,"

They are not dead! They have but passed
Beyond the mists that blind us here
Into the new and larger life
Of that serener sphere.

They have but dropped their robe of clay
To put their shining raiment on;
They have not wandered far away--
They are not "lost nor "gone."

Though disenthralled and glorified
They still are here and love us yet;
The dear ones they have left behind
They never can forget.

And sometimes, when our hearts grow faint
Amid temptations fierce and deep,
Or when the wildly raging waves
Of grief or passion sweep,

We feel upon our fevered brow
Their gentle touch, their breath of balm;
Their arms enfold us, and our hearts
Grow comforted and calm.

And ever near us, though unseen,
The dear, immortal spirits tread--
For all the boundless universe
Is Life--there are no dead!


  1. I love your poem. It would be very comforting to a person that fears death. I would love to put your poem on my poetry website. Peace

  2. Thanks for posting this beautiful poem. I am having trouble finding any information about the author. Do you know anything about him? Karin C.

  3. I don't know much, but I just found this on the internet:

    "... While J.L. McCreery's Poem "There Is No Death" is beautiful, it's not particularly profound until you learn, as I did, that J.L. McCreery always knew when there was a death in the family..."

  4. A wonderful and amazing woman passed away September 9, 2003 and I read this at her service. I miss her every day a little more.

    I love you Mom !

    Your baby boy Jimmie Scott

  5. I am using this poem at my husband's funeral
    this Friday. He was a wonderful man and I have no doubt that there is no death. His spirit is very near, and though now in spirit form, he is still the same wonderful person he always was.

  6. Mccreery's tombstone is in Washington dc

  7. I put this on my dads gravestone

  8. I just wanted to provide a little info on J.L. McCreery. First, I was delighted to find his poem here. I live in Delhi, Iowa, and I ran across a note about McCreery in a vintage cookbook made by the Delaware County Historical Society that I recently bought at a library book sale. According to the little map inside, he lived in a house in Delhi: "J.L. McCreery, county Superintendent of Schools, editor of Delaware County Journal, and poet, resided in the house which stood on the site in 1862 when he wrote 'There Is No Death'.

    1. Tim, Thanks for posting that. Library book sales rule! The first stanza of this poem is on a grave of Henry Parkhurst (1820-1910) in Rochester, NY. The poem must have received wide publication.

  9. A beautiful poem that stays with you..
    One of my senior colleagues recited this poem on the death anniversary function of a colleague of ours....
    Yes, indeed there is no death...

  10. A beautiful poem that stays with you..
    One of my senior colleagues recited this poem on the death anniversary function of a colleague of ours....
    Yes, indeed there is no death...

  11. You can learn more about the author and the history of the poem here: