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Poetry and Medicine
September 1, 2015

In the Meantime, Life

Author Affiliations
  • 1Newton, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2015;314(9):953. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.5885

Closer as it comes, the end
with all its rituals and ways of going
seems to matter more and matter less.
I have my way.
I will be washed and wrapped
and put into the earth
to share my body with the ground
and when all is gone some part of me
may return through rivers to the sea
where all once had begun.
I will not be burnt or laid out bare
upon a mountaintop to feed the birds
who take us in their bodies to the sky
nor will I lie upon a drying frame of wood
or be nibbled by the ocean’s rocking tides.
It matters not. The change
will happen and the end will come
and only how I’ve lived will matter
as I pass someday forgotten into time.

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