The Gift of the Dying

March 17, 2011 at 12:10 pm (Guest Post)

My brother visited us the weekend before, and wrote this 3 days before J died.


The gift of the dying
Is their knowing.

The dying know it all
But only their eyes say so.

And what they say is this:

Go. Live. Sing.
Pray for me,
But don’t spend all day on it.

Outside, the world
Is growing accustomed
To my absence,
And being ceaselessly amazed
At the arrivals,
Raw from their journey and,
Like you, shocked
At being torn away.

Turn your attention to me,
Ever so briefly,
Say the dying,

So that the fierce forward-leaning
Of life
Can shock you anew,

And build your resolve
To call out to the cosmos
With all the devoted desperation

Of your borrowed soul.

Say the dying with their fluttering eyes.
Go, but don’t leave me.
Come back,
So i can see what coming back is like,
Once more,

And so that you may remember
That in coming back,
You are practiced
In the art that i learn even now:
The art
Of going

Mr. Gobley


  1. Irene Martinelli said,

    Very beautiful, very touching…I will keep this close to my heart. Irene

  2. amba12 said,

    I was certainly thinking of Leone just now. . . .

  3. E. said,

    Beautiful. E.

  4. Nan Fischer said,

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Truly, what enters this world must surely leave it as well. Nan

  5. RLC said,

    Mr. Gobley is reliably an inspiration. He also has a good one from a couple of days ago, “The Wave,” about the Japan disaster. In “The Gift of the Dying” I especially like “the arrivals, raw from their journey” and “the fierce forward-leaning nowness of life” and “your borrowed soul.”

  6. mockturtle said,

    I thought of Leone, too, Annie but I’m sure many of our hearts were especially touched.

  7. amba12 said,

    I thought that it would. I just know Leone is right there, right now. Lewy is a long goodbye, but it’s unbelievable and sacred and final and OK, all that, when it’s really actually happening. I would have been comforted by this poem if I had had it in my armamentarium before I needed it. As it is, it comforts me retroactively, and sheds new light on that passage.

  8. Rod said,

    This is a serious and thoughtful poem. I do not know whether it reflects the thinking of those in death’s anteroom. I do know that many who are dying cease to care about living. They disassociate from the world they are about to leave.

  9. amba (Annie Gottlieb) said,

    That was true of Jacques’ last months but not of his last weeks. Of course, like everything else, dying is an individual matter.

  10. LouiseM said,

    Treasure: following the link from here to Mr Gobley to find The Wave. From there to True Ancestor to read “The Death of Experience”, and “Brother Jacques”.

    We are tied together by glyphs that fire neurons. Mr Gobley

    Truly we are. I’m thankful for these glyphs, along with the firing and the neurons.

  11. karen said,

    i think of all the wonderful(words-cannot-express-the-pure-beauty) poems mr. g has written- i always find that exact statement the most profound and touching, Louise:0).

    God gives us all gifts and mr.g doesn’t hide his under a bushel basket, thank God.

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