My last post drew some wonderful comments, and prompted me to do a bit of whatever the cephalopod equivalent of navel-gazing is. Looking through some old posts, old comments, old links, and thinking of some recent funerals, got me wondering what sort of funeral I would want for myself. I used to have plans, actually, that included a Dixieland style jazz band and a party… but that was decades ago. After PZ posted it a while ago, I have Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Dirge Without Music” tacked up on my office wall–I found it comforting at the time, but I don’t know if it sounds right for my own funeral. I know that more than one person has requested to use one of my verses for their own memorials (one has recorded himself reading it, just for the occasion), so I’ll repost it here, and ask (in part because I have not decided, and I am looking for ideas–no rush, mind you!) what sort of readings, music, naked dancing, etc., you are mulling over for when your time comes.
The verse that some have chosen to accompany their memorial:
When we are dead, we’ll feed the worms
And other stuff that writhes and squirms
And if you cannot come to terms
With that—well, use your head!
There are no ifs nor ands nor buts:
Bacteria within our guts
Will start to eat us; that is what’s
In store, once we are dead.
Yes, life is short and full of toil,
And when we’ve shuffled off this coil
Our carcasses will start to spoil—
There’s nothing wrong with that.
Our share of fish or pigs or cows,
And all the chicken time allows,
Is done. It’s only fair that now’s
The worms’ turn to get fat.
Should we die young, or old and gray,
The laws of nature we’ll obey
And spend our heat in mere decay,
Replenishing the Earth;
“Three score and twelve” may be our years
For love and laughter, hope and fears
And then—mere smoke—life disappears;
No heaven, no rebirth.
And with no heaven up above
Nor hell we ought be frightened of
It’s best we fill our lives with love,
With learning, and with fun!
Don’t waste a lifetime while you wait
For halo, wings, and pearly gate—
This is your life, so get it straight:
You only get the one!
I’ll have no moment lost to prayer,
To cleanse my soul and thus prepare
For passage to… THERE’S NOTHING THERE!
Those moments, all, are wasted!
I’m only here a little time
Before it’s bugs and worms and slime;
I’ll eat and drink my life so I’m
Delicious when I’m tasted!