Selfies at Funerals

A new Tumblr compiles self-portraits taken at funerals and shared with the world. Here are a few, interspersed with more traditional efforts at celebrating life and publicly reflecting on mortality.


Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep,
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow

—Mary Elizabeth Frye, "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep"



Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost.

—Henry Scott Holland, "Death Is Nothing at All"



Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

—W.H. Auden, "Funeral Blues"



As one looks on a face through a window, through life I have looked on God,
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

—Amelia Burr, "A Song of Living"



Years later I smile to think of that journey,
the borders we must cross separately,
stamped with our unanswerable woes.

—Naomi Shihab Nai, "Making a Fist"



We forget that we are all dead men conversing with dead men.

—Jorge Luis Borges



Brushstrokes flash, a red bird's   
wings cutting across my stare.   
The sky. A plane in the sky.   
A white vet's image floats   
closer to me, then his pale eyes  
look through mine. I'm a window

—Yusef Komunyakaa, "Facing It"



The love where Death has set his seal,
Nor age can chill, nor rival steal,
         Nor falsehood disavow:
And, what were worse, thou canst not see
Or wrong, or change, or fault in me.

—Lord Byron, "And Thou art Dead, as Young and Fair"



This is the generation of impersonal intimacy and achingly self-conscious expression. Sometimes there's more to it than vanity, I think.

Presented by

James Hamblin, MD, is a senior editor at The Atlantic. He writes the health column for the monthly magazine and hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk.

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