Readers write me asking for advice on how to deal with death and dying. Nonplused by the earnestness and import of the question, initially I could think of no response. After some serious self-contemplation, I answered their queries: "Religion and philosophy, towards serenity and acceptance."

Let fools and children rage against the dying of the light; death being our common fate, let us rather die with as much dignity and grace as possible.

"A Prayer That Will Be Answered"
by Anna Kamienska

L ord let me suffer much
and then die

Let me walk through silence
and leave nothing behind not even fear

Make the world continue
let the ocean kiss the sand just as before

Let the grass stay green
so that the frogs can hide in it

so that someone can bury his face in it
and sob out his love

Make the day rise brightly
as if there were no more pain

And let my poem stand clear as a windowpane
bumped by a bumblebee's head

translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanaugh

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