Raymond Chandler: You were sleeping the big sleep

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What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that. Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell.

 

Raymond Chandler (1888–1959), The Big Sleep


Robert Bly: To live means to pick up particles of death

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"To live" means to pick up particles of death
as a child picks up crumbs from beneath the table.
"To exist" means to drop the bread behind you on the path
hoping the birds will find the crumbs and eat them.
"To live" is to rush forward eating up your own death,
like a locomotive with its catcher on, hurrying into the night.

 

Robert Bly (1926–), "To live or not"

 

Photo of wild turkey and her chicks at Cumberland Island National Seashore from PxHere


Merwin: I was young and the dead were in other Ages

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…I was young and the dead were in other Ages
As the grass has its own language

Now I forget where the difference falls

One thing about the living sometimes a piece of us
Can stop dying for a moment
But you the dead.

Once you go into those names you go on you never
Hesitate
You go on


W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), "The Hydra." Originally published in Poetry magazine, May 1967

 

Photo by Chris Beckett on Flickr