Saturday, January 5, 2013


Much has been written about death and dying.   Death is no stranger to me; I have seen enough of it.   However, my death has not resonated with me until the last few years.   It always seemed as something in such a far distant future as not to warrant concern. 

Even now, at my age, realizing my future is finite, I don’t worry about my demise – I don’t fear it; I view it as the final tribute that I owe to nature for a full and exciting life.

Yorick, I knew him well.


A poem by Phillip Larkin

I work all day, and get half-drunk at night. 
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare. 
In time the curtain-edges will grow light. 
Till then I see what's really always there: 
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now, 
Making all thought impossible but how 
And where and when I shall myself die. 
Arid interrogation: yet the dread 
Of dying, and being dead, 
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify. 
The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse 
- The good not done, the love not given, time 
Torn off unused - nor wretchedly because 
An only life can take so long to climb 
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never; 
But at the total emptiness for ever, 
The sure extinction that we travel to 
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here, 
Not to be anywhere, 
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true. 

This is a special way of being afraid 
No trick dispels. Religion used to try, 
That vast, moth-eaten musical brocade 
Created to pretend we never die, 
And specious stuff that says No rational being 
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing 
That this is what we fear - no sight, no sound, 
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with, 
Nothing to love or link with, 
The anasthetic from which none come round. 

And so it stays just on the edge of vision, 
A small, unfocused blur, a standing chill 
That slows each impulse down to indecision. 
Most things may never happen: this one will, 
And realisation of it rages out 
In furnace-fear when we are caught without 
People or drink. Courage is no good: 
It means not scaring others. Being brave 
Lets no one off the grave. 
Death is no different whined at than withstood. 

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape. 
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know, 
Have always known, know that we can't escape, 
Yet can't accept. One side will have to go. 
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring 
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring 
Intricate rented world begins to rouse. 
The sky is white as clay, with no sun. 
Work has to be done. 
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

“Faith is simply unjustified belief in matters of ultimate concern – specifically in propositions that promise some mechanism by which human life can be spared the ravages of time and death”
The End of Faith - by Sam Harris

“The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far from being on a cruise ship.   Most of your time is spent lying on your back.   The brain has shut down.   The flesh begins to soften.   Nothing much new is expected of you.”
Stiff - by Mary Roach

“The question is not ‘Why must I die?’ but ‘Why have I lived?’”
Christopher Hitchens

“…to die, to sleep - to sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub,
For in this sleep what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.”
Hamlet – Act 3, scene 1
William Shakespear

Quando Omni
Flunkus Moritati
(When all else fails – play dead)
The Possum Pledge from the Red Green show.

the Ol'Buzzard

1 comment:

  1. I don't think about death much, but I do think when I buy something that maybe it'll last the rest of my life.

    Love the Red Green show. We saw Red Green live last year when he did a show locally.


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