Ars Moriendi

As you grow older, don’t forget

to swot up deathbed etiquette


first of all, leaving a will

makes loss a less divisive ill


(descendants generally fall out

if an estate is left in doubt –


yours may do anyway of course

and you for your unfairness curse


so make sure all who matter get

enough to head off such a threat)


next, if religiously inclined,

appear assured, resolved, resigned


to bear with grace the human lot

however seemingly crackpot


since if your life’s been an endeavour

to flaunt your faith, it’s now or never


then binge on Schubert, but if inclined

to modern music, bear in mind


death’s a fashion statement – Bowie’s

bleak Blackstar might be what yours is   


number four, why not make peace

with those you’ve fooled enough to fleece


plus all you’ve hurt or long ignored

that they may praise you evermore


fifthly, plan your funeral 

so those who’ll be there shall recall


the good taste which (they’ll long relate)

your chosen readings illustrate


lastly, please do not complain

however harrowing the pain


but bear it stoically, while hinting

at the bravery you’re demonstrating


the point being, a stiff upper lip    

is a must for your concluding trip  

Published on the Art of Dying Well website June 2020,