Poem About Death and Life

We look at death as such a frightening prospect that we will to do most anything to block it out from conscious thought.

This poem reminds us that though death is our final reality, we still have a lot of living to do.

The fear of death follows from the fear of life.
A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.

- Mark Twain
 (tweet quote)

 

Neighborhoods Of The Dead by Douglas Young

Neighborhoods of the dead
Contain our final bed,
The one most peaceful and secure,
Of which our fear is the most pure.

Death is the one fact of our future,
Yet it's what we most try to obscure,
The reality defining our existence,
From which we flee with the most persistence.

No place is more tranquil than a garden of graves,
Yet most folks would sooner risk exploring dark caves;
How beautiful are the tombstones, trees, and flowers,
Yet tour a cemetery to be alone for hours.

Such solitude is anathema to most;
They would so much rather see a real live ghost;
For to be alone with one's mortality
Is to spell out our starkest reality.

How we deny or dread
Where every life has led,
Cramming our time with ever more minutiae
To avoid even a glimpse of our future.

How we organize our lives
Around elaborate lies,
Anything to mask
Our certain last task.

Yet what's more serene than the calm of a tomb?
Why, not even the warmth of a mother's womb;
Nowhere are we immune to pain
Except in the embrace of our grave.

But, between turmoil and perhaps nothing,
We still prefer almost any something;
Better to stay on the treadmill
Than to pay the final bill.

So how to prepare for that date with the unknown,
The time we hope when all will be shown?
Precisely because I know not what's ahead,
I'll pray my hopes and try to live before I'm dead.

Fill my life with all I can,
Learn, love, and take my stand;
Try to rejoice in each new day
Exactly because it will not stay.

Relish all beauty and add my part;
Ponder my grave when needing to start,
For no drink is so bitter as the cup of regrets
Since it's the missed chances one never forgets.

Find meaning in service to others;
Try to do right despite my druthers;
And don't be afraid to tell those I love
Since I can't when they're no longer above.

Mistakes will scar me, but I'm still here;
Get up, grow, and make time for good cheer.
I will make my mark or none at all;
I'll write my epitaph on that wall.

Do I want to be remembered?
Then I should make a super splash:
Do good to others
And just learn to laugh.

No one recalls intentions - only deeds,
And wonderful works plant wonderful seeds;
No one can cure us - we are always alone
But, if we do right, we have less to bemoan.

So I explore those graveyards
And dread the dead's rest,
Resolved that, when I join them,
I will have given my best.

 

About The Author

Get to know a little more about Douglas Young:

I was reared a faculty brat in Athens, Georgia before becoming a professional nerd myself since 1987. I teach political science at the University of North Georgia-Gainesville where I also advise the Politically Incorrect and Chess Clubs.

After being blessed to have essays published in many newspapers, as well as having gotten disillusioned with contemporary politics, in recent years I've written more poetry.

 


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