My epitaph

If there is much in a word
there is more in a silence,
less in a desire,
and absolutely nothing left in an epitaph.

Unless, of course, it’s a really good joke
and then all bets are off,

This is the first of two poems I call my “Epitaph duet.” (The second is Laugh out loud.) The idea is that both stand as separate poems but that together they form a vague third. As most of you know, an “epitaph” is a short text or poem honoring someone who is deceased. The best are written by the deceased themselves and the practice of writing humorous ones goes back to at least the Greeks.

Thank you so much for reading My epitaph. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge,


Filed under Poetry

14 responses to “My epitaph

  1. Oh so glad can read your work again John…. after so long.
    Have a nice Sunday my friend.


  2. This is excellent! I love the line “There is more in a silence.” So beautiful.

  3. Barbara C Minor

    lol will be on your headstone..cute

    • That or something snarky about wishing I could have won the lottery and become accustomed to the life I knew I was born to have.

  4. More in a silence… It is true.


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  6. Very nice and cryptic. Not too serious either — a trait that can weigh you down in a poem called “Epitaph”.

    Read Ian Hamilton’s “Biography” — similar structure.

    • Thank you so much! My Epitaph is one of those surprise poems that jumps out of the pen when one is least expecting it..and all the nicer it is for it, too. I am curious about your Ian Hamilton ‘Biography’ reference. Do you mean one on him (that I cannot find) or one of the many biographies he wrote? (I had heard of the Salinger biography as it caused quite a stir when it came out. Other than that the amount of his other works surprised me, I confess.)

      • Hamilton wrote a subtle little poem called “Biography” which opens and ends with the line “Who turned the page?”. It’s been on my mind recently for the very same reasons why “My Epitaph” seems to work: it’s cryptic and weighted, although not too heavy.

        You should be able to find it online.

      • John, just did a quick search and can’t find Biography. Will look deeper tomorrow, and if I can find it, post a link. I did however, find some odds and sods of other Ian Hamilton poems and was amazed at how good a writer he is. I’ll have to pick up a collection of his soon. Thank you so much for the referral!

        edit: John posted the poem Biography by Ian Hamilton on his blog, the Bully Pulpit. Find it here. It’s an incredible poem and at this point I am blushing that anyone would compare my work to his. Please, check it out!

  7. Pingback: Ian Hamilton’s ‘In Dreams’ | the Book of Pain