The Dash – A Poem by Linda Ellis

PS To see The Dash Movie again click here
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 her tombstone
From the beginning to the end
He noted that first came her date of her birth
And spoke 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 she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
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?
© by Linda Ellis, Copyright Inspire Kindness,
LLC 1996,

11 Responses to “The Dash – A Poem by Linda Ellis”

  1. Lyd says:

    I like this poem a lot. 🙂

  2. S says:

    So true! Thank you for sharing this poem. It definitly gives food for thought – for good, serious thought.

  3. Clara says:

    This poem really gave me a wake up call and was sent to me at a time that couldn’t have been better. Thank you for the blessings I’ve already received from reading this wonderful poem.

  4. Aura Lee says:

    Puts it all into perspective!

  5. Stacie says:

    I heard this Poem today at a friends funeral. I thought it was amazing and totally the truth about life!!

  6. Melisa says:

    I heard this poem today at my grandmother’s funeral and I think it’s the most beautiful thing ever. My grandmother loved the poem and I’ll keep it in my heart forever.

  7. cmo says:

    the dash is a heart-touchinching poem

  8. Really unusual. I just put a comment about the dash on my facebook page and decided to do a search.
    Linda Ellis’ poem is a great reflection on what it means. Maybe I’ll ask to be put on my headstone not a dash but “thank you for the years” a title of an Eric Bogle song.
    Barron Clarke

  9. […] ‘The Dash’, a poem by Linda Ellis. I love this poem. If you want to know more about it, or perhaps purchase an illustrated gift book, visit the site Simple Truths. All you curious people who keep coming to my blog looking for this poem, take note! […]

  10. Maz says:

    This poem was recently read at a dear friend of mines funeral and lots of people commented later on what a lovely poem it was and how very true.