By Hugh B. Brown
Change alone is permanent, we’re told;
Change is predetermined and God-sent:
Were present and future cast in static mould,
Mortal men could not be heaven-bent.
Our lives must change with new environment;
To arrive, to stop, were permanently to die.
To gain experience we to mortal life were sent;
Change develops wings with which to fly.
The butterflies emerge from out a lowly state;
Not one of them, once formed, would be a chrysalis again.
Shell-bound forever? — a hapless state;
And yet each timid one a chrysalis would remain.
The unborn babe, if it could have its way,
Would remain forever ‘neath its mother’s heart;
Cramped and dependent, it would prefer to stay
Rather than — through birth — a new life start.
The beauty of youth, so glorious in its time,
Becomes stale and withered where there is no growth;
The beauty of age adds poetry to rhyme,
And change eternal is an attribute of both.
Man’s body like a chrysalis is but a shell;
No maturing soul, if it could have its way,
Would choose forever in this mortal house to dwell:
The night of death is harbinger of day.
Eternal increase is the crowning truth we teach;
Stagnation, ennui, death and anti-life
Would be our lot without a “grasp exceeding reach” —
Change adds eternal progress to eternal life.
We fear the future and the change it brings
Because we do not understand the plan.
When thoughts have inspiration’s wings
We’ll name “eternal increase” God’s greatest gift to man.
(London: December 14th, 1939)