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When I’m Gone.
By Burt Kempner
When I’m gone,
Don’t just give me to the earth.
I loved the wind and the sky, too.
I fell under the spell of fire, hissing at me to partake of its secret knowledge.
On bright days I skimmed the surface of the sea; on darker ones I plunged far, far below.
Feed me to the elements.
I hope you’ll cry a little, not because I’m no longer here,
But because I once was,
And perhaps something I said or did
Deflected you from a hurtful path
Or kept you going down the right road when you felt alone.
Don’t bring flowers.
Don’t bring food.
If you spot an injustice, however slight, correct it.
I’ll feel it like a kiss.
When I’m gone
Know that I loved life wildly and deeply,
Until it broke open my heart
And spread like wind-blown seeds,
Falling sometimes on barren ground
And sometimes, somehow took root in Paradise.
When I’m gone
You will still see me
If you look out of the corner of your eye a certain way.
You will still hear me if you catch a hint of laughter
Amid wailing and lamentation.
The earth’s supply of beauty is diminishing.
Add to it what you can and say
I do this in memory of my friend, my loved one.
I do it so that his light remains between two worlds.