in Death

Poets On Life and Death

In order to possess what you do not possess you must go by the way of dispossession

We live in a world where there is no room for a poem, no time absolutely whatsoever. Rumi and T.S. Eliot are remnants of a long gone era but rest assured their poems are forever. 

Rumi has written beautifully on life and death, he calls out what might be on many peoples’ minds, if the feast of life is not to be enjoyed why did I get invited in the first place? Death of a dear family member is one obvious  reason one might question the legitimacy of this feast that we all partake:

you have set up
a colorful table
calling it life and
asked me to your feast
but punish me if
i enjoy myself
what tyranny is this


If the all encompassing love of a dear one is what we miss, is that a problem we experience because we are not immersed in their love, for if we are we should not feel the void. If we are immersed in their love, how can death of that person diminish the feeling of love?

you mustn’t be afraid of death
you’re a deathless soul
you can’t be kept in a dark grave
you’re filled with God’s glow

be happy with your beloved
you can’t find any better
the world will shimmer
because of the diamond you hold

when your heart is immersed
in this blissful love
you can easily endure
any bitter face around

T. S. Eliot writes in East Coker that love is not about here and now, in fact, he says when here and now cease to matter that is when we see true love. 


And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders, bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?The serenity only a deliberate hebetude, the wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets. Useless in the darkness into which they peered

Love is most nearly itself when here and now cease to matter.

I particularly like this one line from East Coker, it is only when we don’t have what we crave for, we can feel its absence in every moment. Feeling its absence only increases the craving until a point when we are fully immersed in the love of that which is craved for.

In order to possess what you do not possess You must go by the way of dispossession.

And what you own is what you do not own

If I may dare to add to Eliot’s magnum opus on life and death “And what you do not own is what you own”.

If a thing of beauty is a joy forever then why brood over the lost ones? In John Keats beautiful words

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: 
Its loveliness increases; it will never 
Pass into nothingness; 


And such too is the grandeur of the dooms 
We have imagined for the mighty dead; 
An endless fountain of immortal drink, 
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink

Seneca compares life to an inn, soon one has to leave to make room for another guest. Seneca points out that every man in this life comes with a certain lifespan, no one dies before their time or after their time, they all do on time.

We must firmly believe that loveliness cannot pass into nothingness, that is the only way I know to make sense of this thing we call life…..and death.

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