A sonnet, by John Masefield:
There, on the darkened deathbed, dies the brain
That flared three several times in seventy years;
It cannot lift the silly hand again,
Nor speak, nor sing, it neither sees nor hears.
And muffled mourners put it in the ground
And then go home, and in the earth it lies,
Too dark for vision and too deep for sound,
The million cells that made a good man wise.
Yet for a few short years an influence stirs,
A sense or wraith or essence of him dead,
Which makes insensate things its ministers
To those beloved, his spirit's daily bread;
Then that, too, fades; in book or deed a spark
Lingers, then that, too, fades; then all is dark.
(Photo: Terminally ill patient Jackie Beattie, 83, holds a dove on October 7, 2009 while at the Hospice of Saint John in Lakewood, Colorado. The dove releases are part of an animal therapy program designed to increase happiness, decrease loneliness and calm terminally ill patients during the last stage of life. By John Moore/Getty Images)