A Name in the Sand

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, methought, ’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.


—Hannah Flagg Gould.