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About the Dash between the Dates

Created: October 10, 2023
Last Revised: October 22, 2023

Back in about 2010, while attending a funeral, the pastor commented that the dash between the dates on the grave marker was really what life was all about. I was unaware at the time that the pastor had probably read the 1996 poem, The Dash, writen by Linda Ellis.
But I was touched by the thought, so I wrote my own version. It's the only poem that I have ever written, by the way.
Here it is:

The Dash
(the Born," - ", Died dash in the tombstone date)

The date I was born, dash, the date of my death
This tombstone record says I've no time left
I had nothing to do with the date I was born
That was the task of two others I've known
I may have helped with that terminal date
Not enough exercise or something I ate.

But the dash, yes the dash, my whole life is there
From first breath to last step but where oh where
Is it written upon that cold planted stone
That I did have a very full life of my own
The dash, the dash so small and so plain
Says little at all of the pleasures or pains
Or successes or failures that do befall
All who are human, both big ones and small
So to you whose dash is not yet completed
Don't carry on with the thought you're defeated
Get out there and DO and record as you go
So YOUR Dash will be longer than just to and fro.