Instructions For My Burial


Bury me in a pauper’s coffin,

Lay my body where you will,

Whatever dignity I had in life

Does not adhere or linger still.


My soul and body are torn apart;

My body rots and turns to clay.

All my deeds have come to naught;

My memory will fade away.


No fancy casket for this corpse,

No marble headstone carvéd fine.

Waste nothing on ostentatious grief;

A simple wooden cross be mine.


If anything be done for me,

When comes my earthly life to end,

Let priest and choir sing requiem,

Let censer swing and voices blend.


As I lie there in my rude pine box,

From world and time removed at last,

Beg mercy for my sinful soul;

All chance for repentance now is past.


I can neither sin nor mend, beneath the sod;

My only hope, as ever, lies with God.


September 21, 2006


Copyright ©    2006 by John Congdon. Used by permission.




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