Afraid to Die
I. The Ancient Egyptian
“I lie on my deathbed and gaze at the sky.
I’m filled with a terror. I don’t want to die.
Though fate was not good to me during my life.
Who knows? After death I’ll encounter more strife.
I’m laden with charms, for my journey on high,
To take me past dangers, o’er which I must fly.
But when I reach heaven, why where shall I go?
Shall I stay up above, or go down below?
For a sleep everlasting, I do but yearn.
I don’t care for life, but I don’t want to burn.”
II. The Ancient Greek
“My death time approaches. O Zeus! Spare me yet.
Entangled by enemies, inside their net,
I yearn but for life, filled with battles galore.
But I hold no hope for my life anymore.
But as great, bold Achilles said when he died,
As he lost his life in the battle, he cried:
‘O Zeus! I don’t want to be king of the dead
I’d rather be slave of the living instead!’
Life in ghost-like Hades holds no charm for me.
I want life, or sleep, for eternity.”
III. The Hindu
“Oh! My life has been vain, my death will be, too.
As I’ll come back to earth and start life anew.
I may be a snake, or a prince, or a priest.
I may be a fish, or I may be a beast.
O Brahma! Have mercy on me, your poor slave.
Give me the extinction for which I but crave.”
IV. The Christian
“O Lord! Give me life on this earth evermore.
My mind is awry and my body is sore.
But I want to live, though it wracks me with pain.
Though I can’t see or hear and life will be vain.
Yet I cling to life, though my last hope is torn.
Soon I shall be gone and my best friends shall mourn.
For a life up in Heaven, I should not mind.
To its advantages I never was blind.
But I may go to Hell and never get peace.
O Lord! For my life I would like a new lease!”
V. The Atheist
“O Death! Enshrine me in your gentle embrace
And let your your endless sleep creep over my face.
Life was good to me, but now of it I tire.
And I want swift release from my troubles dire.
As there is no after-life, I do not fear.
O Death! Don’t stay away from me; come near.”