“So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan which moves To that mysterious realm where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,Scourged by his dungeon; but, sustain'd and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams." ― William Cullen Bryant
John Donne: From Meditation 17 aka "For whom the bell tolls"
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."
Death Is Nothing At All
By Henry Scott-Holland, Priest At St. Paul's Cathedral, London 1917
Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.
All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night.
Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there; I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow, I am the sun on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning's hush I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there; I did not die.
The Good Night Shall Be Yours, My Father
by Mark Stoddard
He sits and stares at everything and nothing in the light,
Then speaks to rail against the dark that is not there,
But cannot find the words to share.
This is not my father now that’s left,
For that good man once raged against the night most every day
In measured words profound, until his mind did force him to betray
His fight to be that bold and noble soul
That I saw tilt against a dragon’s breath.
Now he wonders where he lives and who it is that keeps him strong;
Yet wakes up long enough to let us see,
That fire that’s still within his eyes,
Though dim and dimmer it will be.
His life is not now his to choose, but still from deep within
He tries to flail against the dragon curse that leaves him nearly still
For though he tries with all his might, it now he cannot tame,
But barely battles with the flame.
Once fought he the daily fight to look at life, and say we are all the same.
He laughed and poked the greatest men as if they were the peddler’s boys
And crowned he the pauper, prince;
Cattlemen or kings were all his Father’s sons, equal in his mind.
Now he’d like to leave us all and burst his body’s bonds,
For though he knows his flame is nearly cold, and knows his sword is blunt
And cannot beat the beast he knows does lurk within his near hollow mind.
Tis from his knowing comes my tears to see him faint a rage against the night.
Good night sweet prince; may you awake
To clouds of glory to the God whose thoughts were daily yours;
Whose heavens you did conquer here on earth
And with your queen laid claim to quasar kingdom,
Where that good night shall be yours forever more.