He Is Not Dead

In this poem James Whitcomb Riley speaks to the wistful, ever present and quiet grief that follows upon the death of a loved one. Is he dead and gone or is he just somewhere else? There is a compelling connection here with Buff Whitman-Bradley’s prose poem “Molecular Biology” in which the poet speculates what may have become of his old friend’s molecules after death, and a moving speculation about how they may have re-formed themselves.

By the time we reach the Third Act of life, we all have had to face the passing of dear ones, never an easy experience and process. Everyone could use some help with these sad times of loss.

Share your story of loss with us, won’t you? It may give just the right bit of fortitude and perspective we need.


In this poem James Whitcomb Riley speaks to the wistful, ever present and quiet grief that follows upon the death of a loved one.

“He is not dead”
I cannot say, and I will not say
That he is dead. He is just away.
With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand,
He has wandered into an unknown land
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be, since he lingers there.
And you-oh you, who the wildest yearn
For an old-time step, and the glad return,
Think of him faring on, as dear
In the love of There as the love of Here.
Think of him still as the same. I say,
He is not dead-he is just away.


In this short but encompassing note, Mark Twain expresses his sorrow at the thought he will someday, perhaps much sooner than later, lose his ability to be himself.

“When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened. It is sad to go to pieces like this but we all have to do it.”

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