by Hannah Flagg Gould
"A Name in the Sand," by Hannah Flagg Gould (1789-1865),
is a poem to correct our ready overestimate of our own importance.
Alone I walked the ocean strand;
A pearly shell was in my hand:
I stooped and wrote upon the sand
My name--the year--the day.
As onward from the spot I passed,
One lingering look behind I cast;
A wave came rolling high and fast,
And washed my lines away.
And so, me thought, 'twill shortly be
With every mark on earth from me:
A wave of dark oblivion's sea
Will sweep across the place
Where I have trod the sandy shore
Of time, and been, to be no more,
Of me--my day--the name I bore,
To leave nor track nor trace.
And yet, with Him who counts the sands
And holds the waters in His hands,
I know a lasting record stands
Inscribed against my name,
Of all this mortal part has wrought,
Of all this thinking soul has thought,
And from these fleeting moments caught
For glory or for shame.