From Stewart Brand’s website called the Long Now Foundation (full article here….) …..a poem written by a woman dying in hospice.
Ostaseski ended with a story. One day at Zen Hospice in San Francisco he was in the kitchen reading a book called Japanese Death Poems. A tough old lady from the streets named Sono, who was there to die, asked him about the book, and he explained the tradition of Japanese monks to write on the day of their death a poem expressing the essential truth discovered in their life. He read her a few. Sono said she’d like to write hers, and did, and asked that it be pinned to her bedclothes when she died and cremated with her. She wrote:
Don’t just stand there with your hair turning gray,
soon enough the seas will sink your little island.
So while there is still the illusion of time,
set out for another shore.
No sense packing a bag.
You won’t be able to lift it into your boat.
Give away all your collections.
Take only new seeds and an old stick.
Send out some prayers on the wind before you sail.
Don’t be afraid.
Someone knows you’re coming.
An extra fish has been salted.