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The Beauty of Death (Poem)

The Beauty of Death (Poem)

“My Intent is to grieve for my friend’s death and then move forward.”
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A friend of a friend died two days ago as a result of a brutal and heinous crime. I had never known of anyone who had gotten murdered. In my world, such things had only happened in films and television shows. The young woman was only 25 years old and had her whole life ahead of her. Even though they managed to catch the perpetrator, there was no comfort in his confession for her friends and family. The viciousness of his crime only matched the absurdity of his motives.

Dealing with death is hard, but when it is a young person who dies, it is even harder. It goes against the course of nature and acts as a bitter reminder that we live in an imperfect world. I was at a complete loss on how to comfort my friend. What can you even say? How do you make peace with such a horrible tragedy? When someone dies by succumbing to an illness, there is comfort in knowing that they are no longer suffering or in pain. But what do you say when someone’s life is unjustly snatched away?

I thought about it for a long time and in the end I concluded that there is nothing I could say to make it better. I have no wisdom to make sense of such an event, nothing to say that will bring her back and no words that will erase the horror that will remain in the life of the people who knew her. The only thing I could offer is a shoulder to cry on and share a poem about death that gives me some peace.

An excerpt from The Beauty of Death by Khalil Gibran:

The songs of the waves and the hymns of the streams
Are scattered, and voices of the throngs reduced to silence:
And I can hear naught but the music of Eternity
In exact harmony with the spirit’s desires.
I am cloaked in full whiteness:
I am in comfort: I am in peace.

Unwrap me from this white linen shroud and clothe me
With leaves of jasmine and lilies:
Take my body from the ivory casket and let it rest
Upon pillows of orange blossoms.

Lament me not, but sing songs of youth and joy:
Shed not tears upon me, but sing of harvest and the winepress:
Utter no sigh of agony, but draw upon my face with your
Finger the symbol of Love and Joy.

Disturb not the air’s tranquility with chanting and requiems,
But let your hearts sing with me the song of Love,
Mourn me not with apparel of black,
But dress in color and rejoice with me;
Talk not of my departure with sighs in your hearts: close
Your eyes and you will see me forevermore.

Photo by Sam Howzit

Related:
6 Myths About Grieving
What Not to Say to Someone Grieving
Healing from Grief and Loss

Read more: Life, Spirit,

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Intent.com provides content and community for who you aspire to be--personally, socially and globally. Follow Intent on Twitter here.

38 comments

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4:10PM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

I am so sorry!

And...what a beautiful poem, and the one also quoted by John - thank you for that! I will save them both.

6:53PM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

Thank you, this makes me want to read more from Gibran's "The Beauty of Death." Unfortunately, I am all too familiar with losing someone close when they were young. When I was 13 yrs old I lost my one year old niece, lost a few friends in high school, and more recently a close friends 8 yr old grandson in a freak accident. It's hard enough as it is, I can only imagine the pain if it were because of a murder!

5:49AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

There are no words, there is no comfort but being there for your friend at such a time is what will be most needed and treasured... even if it´s just sitting toghether in silence

5:27AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

Thank you.

4:09AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

Prelijepa poema.Nažalost loše stvari se dešavaju dobrim ljudima.Iako to nije nikakva utjeha,to je surova realnost.Jedino možemo nastaviti dalje,i vjerovati da nas zaista tamo gore čeka ljepši,bolji svijet.

3:21AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

The poem that has always carried me through:

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 circling flight. I am the soft star-shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there; I did not die.

3:03AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

I too had lost someone close when young, the times that followed were filled with disbelief, guilt, love, hate, resentment, memories good and bad & finally acceptance, you always wonder, what if? I take their memory with me and honour them and live my life accordingly.

2:24AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

Such a sad story of young life cut short so brutally. But beautiful and comforting words in this lovely poem by Khalil Gibran.

1:40AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

Perhaps this may help a little?

When I Sail Away.

Sometime at eve when the tide is low,
I shall slip my mooring and sail away,
With no response to the friendly hail
Of kindred craft in the busy bay.
In the quiet hush of the twilight pale,
When the night stoops down to embrace the day.
And the voices call and the waters flow;
Sometime at eve when the tide is low.
I shall slip my mooring and sail away.
Through purple shadows that darkly trail
O’er the ebbing tide of the unknown sea,
I shall fare me away with a dip of sail
And a ripple of water to tell the tale
Of a lonely voyager sailing away
To mystic isles where at anchor lay
The craft of those who have gone before
O’er the unknown sea to the unknown shore.
A few who have watched me sail away
Will miss my craft from the busy bay
Some loving souls that my heart holds dear,
In silent sorrow will drop a tear,
But I shall have peacefully furled my sail
In moorings sheltered from storm and gale,
And greet family and friends who have gone before
O’er the unknown sea to the unknown shore.

Elizabeth Clark Hardy (1849 – 1929)

12:06AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

This has come at the right moment.
Thanks.

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