To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
To learn just who you are
Look at tombs as you walk.
They hold the bones, the powdered dust
Of kings and tyrants, of wise men,
Of men proud of their noble fathers,
Of men glorying in their gold and their glory
And their beautiful bodies.
And when the time came
What protected them against death?
Nothing. Everyone living dies the same death.
Look at tombs and learn just who you are.
Pure Pagan: Seven Centuries of Greek Poems and Fragments (Modern Library Classics). trans. Burton Raffel
We all pray for it
Before it comes,
Then blame it
When it arrives.
Old age is a debt
We like to be owed,
Not one we like to collect.
Pure Pagan: Seven Centuries of Greek Poems and Fragments (Modern Library Classics). Trans. Burton Raffel.