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The following poems are compositions- the final words of the dying. Each line is the recorded last word or words of well-known artists, politicians, murderers, celebrities, writers, soldiers, activists, musicians, royalty, and paupers.

 

Let ‘Em Wait
Josephine…
Beautiful.
My God. What’s happened?
Is it not meningitis?
I am still alive!
Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us, we have been so happy.
I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.
I am not the least afraid to die.
You were saying that I could not recover.
Is everybody happy? I want everybody to be happy. I know I’m happy.
Waiting are they? Waiting are they? Well–let ’em wait. Well,

A Long One
Am I dying or is this my birthday?
Ay Jesus.
Don’t let poor Nelly starve.
I am dying. I haven’t drunk champagne for a long time.
I’ve had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that’s the record . . .
I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.
Codeine . . . bourbon.
I’m bored with it all.
That was the best ice-cream soda I ever tasted.
Ah, that tastes nice. Thank you.
I’ve never felt better.
Go away. I’m all right.
I can’t sleep.
Now I shall go to sleep. Goodnight.
This time it will be a long one.

Unshriven
Et tu, Brute?
Let’s cool it brothers…
It’s all been very interesting.
I have a terrific headache.
The earth is suffocating . . . Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won’t be buried alive.
Sister, you’re trying to keep me alive as an old curiosity, but I’m done, I’m finished, I’m going to die.
I have tried so hard to do the right.
Friends applaud, the comedy is finished.
Now comes the mystery.
This is the last of earth! I am content.
See in what peace a Christian can die.
Nothing, but death.
I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.
I owe much; I have nothing; the rest I leave to the poor.
All is lost. Monks, monks, monks!
God will pardon me, that’s his line of work.
God bless… God damn.
Woe is me. Me thinks I’m turning into a god.
Here am I, dying of a hundred good symptoms.
Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.
Damn it . . . Don’t you dare ask God to help me.
Does nobody understand?
I am a Queen, but I have not the power to move my arms.
A King should die standing.
Die? I should say not, dear fellow.
Why do you weep. Did you think I was immortal?
Too late for fruit, too soon for flowers.
Why not? Yeah.
Go on, get out – last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.
Nothing matters. Nothing matters.
I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.
A dying man can do nothing easy.
No, I shall not give in. I shall go on. I shall work to the end.
I am curious to see what happens in the next world to one who dies unshriven?
Adieu, mes amis. Je vais la gloire.

The Fog is Rising
Put out the light.
I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.
Turn up the lights, I don’t want to go home in the dark.
I see black light.
Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.
All my possessions for a moment of time.
Do you hear the rain? Do you hear the rain?
I must go in, the fog is rising.
It is very beautiful over there.
Get my swan costume ready.
Let us cross over the river and sit in the shade of the trees.
Come my little one, and give me your hand.
Oh, do not cry – be good children and we will all meet in heaven.
Goodnight my darlings, I’ll see you tomorrow.