What Is the Funeral Poem “The Dash”?

“The Dash” is a 1996 poem by Linda Ellis that discusses the importance of making the most of life. The poem centers on a eulogy where the speaker emphasizes what happened during “the dash,” the symbol that represents all the time between the birth and death dates on the tombstone.

The poet recognizes that, at a funeral, the “dash” time is remembered by those who loved the deceased. According to the poem, the value of people does not rest in the wealth they have accumulated but in their love and relationships. It reflects on ways to enhance the time in “the dash,” such as slowing down, having more patience and being grateful. In addition, the poem suggests treating others better by being more respectful and pleasant.

“The Dash” has raised some controversy because of copyright issues. In 1996, the poem was copyrighted. The poet’s website grants permission for anyone to recite the poem freely but does not allow it to be reproduced in written form. Instead, the poet requests that people provide a link to the webpage containing the poem. Still, the poem has been published without permission, and the poet has brought lawsuits in some of these cases. The situation has raised a discussion about intellectual property and the use of information that is accessible on the Internet.