"Death is Nothing at All” by Henry Scott Holland, an English clergyman, was written in 1910. The poem was popularized by the Carmelite monks in Tallow, County Waterford.
Editor's note: Today, Nov 2, marks All Soul's Day. The concept behind All Souls' Day is rooted in the Catholic Church's belief in the existence of purgatory, a temporary state of purification for the souls of the deceased who have died in a state of grace but still need to be purified before entering heaven. It is believed that the prayers and intercessions of the living can help the souls in purgatory move closer to God and eventually attain their place in heaven. This poem seems perfectly fitting for those loved ones who have passed away.
It is a uniquely calm and moving poem about death and is often quoted.
The Irish prayer "Death is nothing at all" is a powerful reminder that death is not the end, but merely a transition. It acknowledges the pain of loss while offering hope and comfort to those left behind. By reminding us that the bonds between individuals endure, even in death, the prayer provides a source of solace and strength for those grieving.
"Death is Nothing at All"
“Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.
* Originally published in August 2016. Updated in Nov 2023.