And never should the soul arise A finer world to see,
How foolish would our struggles seem, How grim the earth would be!
If living were the whole of life, To end in seventy years,
How pitiful its joys would seem! How idle all its tears!
There'd be no faith to keep us true, No hope to keep us strong,
And only fools would cherish dreams— No smile would last for long.
How purposeless the strife would be If there were nothing more,
If there were not a plan to serve, An end to struggle for!
No reason for a mortal's birth Except to have him die- -
How silly all the goals would seem For which men bravely try.
There must be something after death; Behind the toil of man
There must exist a God divine Who's working out a plan;
And this brief journey that we know As life must really be
The gateway to a finer world That some day we shall see.
Note: This poem is written in my mother's hand on the last page of a Bible I found while cleaning our my father's library in 1997. The Bible is inscribed as follows: To Ruby Lee Perry: For the best composition on the Life of Paul. From your Leader …. W. L Watkins There is no date, but it must have been given to her in Park Street Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C., around 1921 when she was a teenager. It is one of only two writings I have in my mother's hand. My mother did not live her "seventy years". She died at age 33 on Christmas Day, 1941, when I was seven. Two younger siblings died in their early years and her sister, Margaret Perry, died at age 21. Perhaps that is why this poem meant a lot to her. Until my children were born, I was the only surviving member of the Perry family. My father, James P. Wesberry died exactly 51 years after my mother, on Christmas Day 1992. I look forward to the "gateway to a finer world " … James P. Wesberry, Jr .