Ralph Hodgson (1871-1962), The Linnet
They say the world's a sham, and life a lease
Of nightmare nothing nicknamed Time, and we
Ghost voyagers in undiscovered seas
Where fact is feign; mirage, reality:
Where all is vain and vanity is all,
And eyes look out and only know they stare
At conjured coasts whose beacons rise and fall
And vanish with the hopes that feigned them there:
Where sea-shell measures urge a phantom dance
Till fancied pleasure drowns imagined pain
Till Death stares madness out of countenance,
And vanity is all and all is vain.
It may be even as my friends allege.
I'm pressed to prove that life is something more
And yet a linnet on a hawthorn hedge
Still wants explaining and accounting for.