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The Dash Poem by Linda Ellis is copyrighted material and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property rights.  You are free to recite the poem at a memorial service or public event so long as you give credit to the author;  Linda Ellis.  If you wish to reprint the poem in a memorial program, we will provide you with rights to do so when you purchase 50 or more Dash Wallet cards.  See our section on Licensing and Usage Rights.



The Dash

by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.


He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before. 

If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?


Copyright Inspire Kindness, LLC 1996. All rights reserved.

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The Dash Poem by Linda Ellis

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