Monday, 24 August 2020



Anywhere on earth, in the hills or plains,

when the last one’s drawn, and no breath remains - 

lay the withered grass down on any terrain

and there’s no need to disturb the gods.


Feel free not to chant prayers at the pyre -

and by the way, either would do, soil or fire -

home isn’t a point, a place to retire,

because home is, after all, a road.


And if you’re feeling brave, when I’m gone

let the birds have the flesh, the sun bleach the bones,

neither fire nor fuss, nor digging nor stone,

just a slow collapse into the clods.


Like a small footprint washed off by the sea,

a paper boat sunk after its short journey,

atoms imploding into eternity

without markers for where they implode.

Don’t disturb the gods, don’t disturb the soil,

don’t sully the air with heat and huge turmoil

don’t light up the lamp, don’t pour out the oil,

lose me gently to this bay that is broad.

Keep it light and soft, keep it natural

both the print and tread quiet, and erasable,

the end a laying down, no special disposal,

let me scatter where I fall with my load.


  1. Oh Nila.
    This is beautiful. We have no scavenging birds here, but when I draw my final breath I hope for an ecofuneral. No chemicals, no flames, no monuments to mark the spot. If I can I want to feed the ground, a tree and have birds rest and roost above me.

    1. No chemicals, no flames, no monuments - absolutely. I don't want any waste of energy, minimum fuss, maximum nature. Birds resting and roosting above is my idea of heaven. What more can one possibly want?

      In India, the Parsi community leave their dead in 'towers of silence' for exposure to scavengers. Less of a carbon footprint than the other methods.

  2. Hari OM
    I too would wish such a departure... wonderful! YAM xx

  3. this poem has such a soft feel. I'd like it read quietly as I just evaporate into the ether.

    1. Exactly! You said what was in my mind,'just evaporate' - far more neatly and succinctly! Thank you.