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Poems & quotes of remembrance


Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I and you are you – whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way we used to. Put no difference in your tone, wear no false air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed, play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever spoken without effort, without trace of shadow.

   What is 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 around the corner. All is well.

Canon Henry Scott Holland, ‘All is Well’

I fall asleep in the full and certain hope
That my slumber shall not be broken;
And that though I be all-forgetting,
Yet shall I not be all-forgotten,
But continue that life in the thoughts and deeds
Of those I loved.

Samuel Butler

He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present, than the living man.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I wish I could translate the things about the dead young men and women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring
taken soon our of their laps.

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive and well somewhere,
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,

And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.

All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier.

Walt Whitman, from Song of Myself

Time is the root of all this earth;
These creatures, who from Time had birth,
Within his bosom at the end
Shall sleep; Time hath nor enemy nor friend.

All we in one long caravan
Are journeying since the world began;
We know not whither, but we know
Time guideth at the front, and all must go.

Like as the wind upon the field
Bows every herb, and all must yield,
So we beneath Time’s passing breath
Bow each in turn, – why tears for birth or death?

Bhartrihari, ‘Time’, tr. Paul Elmer More

Love is not changed by death And nothing is lost And all in the end is harvest.

Edith Sitwell

They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it.
   Death cannot kill what never dies.
   Nor can spirits ever be divided, that love and live in the same divine principle, the root and record of their friendship.
   If absence be not death, neither is theirs.
   Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still.
   For they must needs be present, that love and live in that whch is omnipresent.
   In this divine glass they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure.
   This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.

William Penn, from More Fruits of Solitude

In all times and in all places is Creation.
In all times and in all places is Death.
Man is a Gateway.

CG Jung, from Sermons to the Dead

When I lie where shades of darkness
Shall no more assail mine eyes,
Nor the rain make lamentation
   When the wind sighs;
How will fare the world whose wonder
Was the very proof of me?
Memory fades, must the remembered
   Perishing be?

Oh, when this my dust surrenders
Hand, foot, lip, to dust again,
May these loved and loving faces
   Please other men!
May the rusting harvest hedgerow
Still the Traveller’s Joy entwine,
And as happy children gather
   Posies once mine.

Look thy last on all thing lovely,
Every hour. Let no night
Seal thy sense in deathly slumber
   Till to delight
Thou have paid thy utmost blessing;
Since that all things thou wouldst praise
Beauty took from those who loved them
   In other days.

Walter de la Mare, ‘Fare Well’

Grieve not; though the journey of life be bitter; and the end unseen, there is no road which does not lead to an end.


They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of water: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

The Order for the Burial of a Child; Revelation, 7:16–17

He did not lose his place in the minds of men because he was out of their sight.

John Henry Newman, Sermons

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
   Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frowns o’ the great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke;
   Care no more to clothe and eat;
   To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
   Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
   Thou hast finished joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
   Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
   Nothng ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renowned be thy grave!

William Shakespeare, from Cymbeline, Act IV, Scene II

Death is not the extinguishing of the light, but the putting out of the lamp, because Dawn has come.

Rabindranath Tagore

Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still.

from More Fruits of Solitude by William Penn

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