In my dying, I insist on music.
Brahms, Poulenc, Borodin, and Durufle,
sprinkled occasionally with Bach chorales,
spiced with Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms,
laced with Schubert, Richard Strauss, and Wagner,
mixed with Debussy’s “Demoiselle Eleu,”
Mozart, Verdi and Berlioz Requiems,
and—at last!—The Internationale.
I want to go out in style.

No rites, ceremonies or funerals.
Just say that I have made some difference
in this world of my brief habitation,
however fleeting or temporary.
Refresh my memory with tales of joy
and all our adventures through the years—
successful or not, it was the journey
that gave life meaning from start to finish.
I want to go without tears.

If you must, begin your brief festivities soberly
with the Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth;
say whatever you will—or not—
but leave skipping, accompanied by
Bernstein’s Overture to “Candide.”

And as I slip forever into darkness,
I want my departure to be accompanied
by the “Agnes Dei” from the Faure Requiem,
and think of me as that lilting violin obbligato
vanishing into a final, beautiful silence.

©2007 Dorothy Miller Gutenkauf

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