Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Words in Stone

Robert Louis Stevenson
I've been thinking lately about short poetry and last words. And I stumbled, interesting enough, on famed author Robert Louis Stevenson's epitaph which is etched on his tombstone. It is titled Requiem:

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

A beautiful poem. We know Stevenson -- Scottish novelist, essayist, and poet -- mainly for his adventure stories. Namely, Treasure Island. He apparently wrote Requiem long before his death and knew he wanted it on his tombstone. He was sickly, and died of tubercolosis on the island of Samoa in 1894, where he is buried.

Is it macabre to think about our last words?  To consider what we want etched into the stone that will mark a man's final resting place? And before you go and say, "well yes, when you are old, that's when I'll think about it."   But aren't we always assessing our lives?  How will others know how we lived our lives?  Regardless if you are young today, or old tomorrow, aren't we thinking about our legacies, and the words -- sometimes short -- we want to use to capture our lives.  

No comments:

Post a Comment