AN AWKWARD BOW
John Keats (1795-1821), English Poet.
I always made an awkward bow.
John Keats, the last words in his last letter.
I first began today's entry in early October after stumbling across the Keats quote on awkward bows. Having worked in theatre for almost two decades, I appreciated this poet's metaphor very much and saved it. Over the past eight weeks I have compiled various quotes along the same line and some of them follow below. The final quote (again Keats) came to me while watching Robert Redford's production of Quiz Show over the weekend. I did not know at the time that those lines were the concluding ones from Ode on a Grecian Urn but on learning that, this entry felt complete.
These words served to remind me of the significance of transitions and how they are full of sadness, fear, humor, humility, joy, beauty. We must acknowledge and honor Life's passages, sometimes gracefully, and sometimes a bit awkwardly, but always very truthfully. (Thank you, Mr. Keats.)
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. From Ode on a Grecian Urn, John Keats. Final sentence.
In Chinese tradition, it is customary to accompany travelers part of the way on their journey before saying farewell.
But now our sleep has fled and our dream is over, and it is no longer dawn.
The noontide is upon us and our half waking has turned to fuller day, and we must part.
From Farewell, Kahlil Gibran, the last words of the prophet to the people before sailing away.
Now comes the mystery.
Henry Ward Beecher, 19th century evangelist, his last words.
From Ulysses, James Joyce, the last word. "Yes" is used 121 times in the final chapter.
In Ireland, there is an old custom of sprinkling holy water on friends who are departing, in order to keep them safe on their journey.
Vayadhammaa sankhaaraa appamaadena sampaadethaa
(All things are perishable, through vigilance Awaken!)
From the final teaching from the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, containing the last days and the final teachings of the Buddha.
Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.
From Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell. Rhett Butler to Scarlet O'Hara as he leaves her.
Ha'makom yenahem etkhem betokh she'ar avelei Tziyonvi'Yerushalayim
(May God console you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem).
In Jewish tradition, this is a form of address used with mourners upon a death.
Is everybody happy? I want everybody to be happy. I know I'm happy.
Ethel Barrymore, final words.
The rest is silence.
From Hamlet, William Shakespeare. Final words of Hamlet.