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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1218
AUTHOR: Leigh Mitchell Hodges (1876–1954)
QUOTATION: Closed eyes can’t see the white roses,
Cold hands can’t hold them, you know,
Breath that is stilled cannot gather
The odors that sweet from them blow,
Death, with a peace beyond dreaming,
Its children of earth doth endow;
Life is the time we can help them,
So give them the flowers now!

Here are the struggles and striving,
Here are the cares and the tears;
Now is the time to be smoothing
The frowns and the furrows and fears.
What to closed eyes are kind sayings?
What to hushed heart is deep vow?
Naught can avail after parting,
So give them the flowers now!

Just a kind word or a greeting;
Just a warm grasp or a smile—
These are the flowers that will lighten
The burdens for many a mile.
After the journey is over
What is the use of them; how
Can they carry them who must be carried?
Oh, give them the flowers now!

Blooms from the happy heart’s garden
Plucked in the spirit of love;
Blooms that are earthly reflections
Of flowers that blossom above.
Words cannot tell what a measure
Of blessings such gifts will allow
To dwell in the lives of many,
So give them the flowers now!
ATTRIBUTION: Attributed to LEIGH MITCHELL HODGES. Unverified. The authorship of the poem, “Give Them the Flowers Now,” is anonymous in The World’s Famous Short Poems and Prose Selections, comp. James G. Lawson, p. 177 (1927). This poem is credited to Hodges in Heart Throbs in Prose and Verse, comp. Joe Mitchell Chapple, p. 35 (1947), a work based on readers’ contributions.
SUBJECTS: Mortality