Too few are the garlands we weave for the living,
Too many the wreaths that are laid on the bier;
If someone has flowers or praise to be giving,
’Tis wrong to withhold while the loved one is here.
When once the dear soul from the cold clay doth vanish,
What use the sweet blossoms so lavishly spread?
One kind, loving word that the teardrops will banish,
Is better than loudest applause to the dead.
This poem “Why Not Now?” was written February 12, 1924 by Elsie Lister Ross, the paternal grandmother of Sacred Harp singer Leland Ross.
The meter is 12s.11s.D., and it can be sung to The Ash Grove or Eden of Love (#39 in The Sacred Harp, Cooper Edition), among others.