I was fortunate to walk this earth with my feet
To the earth will my elements go
Back to dust for someone else’s being, once I’m deceased

I was replenished by water, the sun’s rays against my face
Once I’m gone, my fluids will concede
Returning to its original stream

I meditated on my breath, synchronized with the wind
At one with the planet, on earth’s axis I slowly spin
Gladly I relinquish, exhale never again to take it in

The fire in my passion lit many trails ablaze
Eventually it too will meet the chill of death
As it returns to the coldness of space

I will be at peace, no regrets, no complaints
On how my life was spent
Thankful for my time, the elements, my temporary tent

As for my soul, whether there’s a heaven
Immediately after death I don’t know

Rumors of rewards, doctrines of Paradise
All I can do is be patient and enjoy this present life


Author’s note: I wrote this poem because of my experiments with meditation and Buddhist teachings. I wanted to convey my peace, not just in my living, but also the inevitability of death. What did I do with my elements? Hopefully by the time I come face to face with death, I can say that I used them wisely. Death has a lot to do with perception. Does one truly die if the elements that make up your essence remain? I know what I believe is to come, but logically I can’t know for sure. It’s more of a hope I hold inside. But what I do know, because it’s tangible, is the elements that make up my being, and for them I’m truly grateful.  


  1. Maddie on October 19, 2020 at 1:54 PM

    MV, thank you for sharing this poem. I can tell that your words are influenced by practice meditating, and as I read them I almost feel as though I am being guided through a meditative practice. I also find the questions you bring up in your author’s note to draw on important reflections. I had never thought about death having a lot to do with perception, but I am intrigued by that notion. Thank you for giving me new ideas to consider. I wish you all the best!

  2. Anna on October 19, 2020 at 4:01 PM

    This poem is beautiful. I think accepting death is a very hard thing to do, along with being patient with the unknown of what happens after death. The part where you said that you will be at peace on how your life was spent really was really impactful for me. Being at peace with how you lived is something I believe most people hope to have when it is their time to go. Thank you so much for sharing your poetry.

  3. armani739 on October 19, 2020 at 4:16 PM

    Hello MV,

    This poem was truly awesome. I am inspired by your faith and to be reminded of our elements here on Earth. It is often, that many of us take our elements for granted and struggle to find peace.

    “I will be at peace, no regrets, no complaints
    On how my life was spent
    Thankful for my time, the elements, my temporary tent“

    There are many things to be debated about in our lives. But we should all be thankful of our temporary journeys because we do not get it again as we can once were. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. N. B. on October 19, 2020 at 4:28 PM

    This is an amazing poem that utilizes Buddhist thought and teachings to muse on the topic of inevitable death. Before reading your author’s note, I didn’t exactly realize it was about Buddhism (until maybe the last stanza where you referred to Paradise); I initially thought this poem might be about climate change, the environment, and death. Your author’s note lends some insight, however, and re-reading the poem, I can clearly identify the elements of Buddhism you’ve chosen to include. This poem reminded me to be thankful for what I have and am in this moment. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful piece.

  5. Andrew Molina on October 19, 2020 at 6:22 PM

    I found the spirituality of this poem to be very engaging. I loved the way you use imagery to connect aspects of the human experience with the world as a whole. I admit the representation of death is a bit saddening, but the sense of peace you mention in your author’s note really shines through to the audience. Overall I thought it was beautifully written with a powerful message behind it.

  6. Kennedi on October 19, 2020 at 11:17 PM

    This was a very good poem! The fact that you are passionate about it makes the poem so much better!! Keep up the good work and do not stop writing!

  7. Dyemone on October 20, 2020 at 12:08 PM

    I loved how this poem shows how the author is feeling. You can see that the author is feeling at peace not only in life but also death. I really enjoyed reading this poem. Please continue writing in the future.

  8. Eva on October 20, 2020 at 7:10 PM

    MV, this poem is beautiful. I also recently studied some Buddhist practices and I love how you incorporated those ideals into your work. The concept of death is such a difficult subject for so many, but reaching peace in yourself makes living life worth it. This poem makes it clear that we all live; and once we die, everybody will give back to the earth that has sustained us in life.

  9. Bryan Chong on October 20, 2020 at 7:11 PM

    A truly beautiful poem with an amazing title. I love the strong diction you chose to convey meaning in each line. I really think the imagery and sort of melancholy tone ties very well with your message of peace. I liked the title name because of the duality of the meaning and how one can interpret it how they perceive it. Great job!

  10. Cyrill Maceda on October 22, 2020 at 1:22 PM

    This poem definitely makes one think of their perception in life. I was able to learn a lot from this poem and I am glad to read about your view in life. I hope that you do reach the same satisfaction as you hoped for yourself in the poem.

  11. Kathleen Brown on October 22, 2020 at 2:57 PM

    This is incredible! I could truly feel your passion and sincerity, and although you and I will never meet, we are all spiritual beings in a temporary physical existence. The light in me bows to and honors the light in you. Namaste!

  12. Logan on October 22, 2020 at 3:45 PM

    Hey, MV! I really like your poem, and after reading the author’s note I can say that I really like your stance on the way things are. The poem itself was beautiful, and I really like how every stanza was like a new life. That being said, the closeness of death and the continued willingness to go right into it… I loved that. I really think that view is really heartwarming and charming. I’d like to think I’d face my own end with such dignity and grace as the various lives in your poem do. Keep on writing, this is good stuff!

  13. Cameron on October 23, 2020 at 5:01 PM

    MV, I love your poem and your thought process behind it. I thought each line was very powerful, as I could really feel your meditation process and how you use your elements. Even if someone is not familiar with Buddhism or meditation, I think they’ll still feel the calmness and the contentment that you slowly are bringing toward the end of the poem. It reminds us to be thankful for the present moment, regardless of what that might be. Thank you for your beautiful poem! I can’t wait to read more!

  14. Maya S. on October 26, 2020 at 3:41 PM

    MV, this poem speaks so beautifully about our time on earth and the inevitability of death. I like how you illustrate how each part of you is tied to the earth/nature in some way (“my fluids will concede/
    Returning to its original stream” and “I meditated on my breath, synchronized with the wind”). The poem feels very grounding and meditative, so I can definitely see how Buddhist teachings have influenced your work. I also really like the idea that death has to do with perception because our elements remain on earth even after we die. I think this poem is a great reminder to focus on the present and not see death as an inherently bad or scary thing. Thank you, and keep writing!

    Best, Maya

  15. kassidilenae on October 27, 2020 at 2:43 PM


    I can feel your passion for what you write about through the words you use and the images you create. I admire your inner peace. Peace evades so many of us, so it is a blessing that you have found some. Keep living in a way that will leave a lasting, positive impact on our world. Keep writing!


  16. Uva Dasari on October 28, 2020 at 2:32 PM

    This is amazing, I loved your poem! It was interesting to read about your perspective of life and your feelings abut depth and what you plan to accomplish by then. Very inspiring!

  17. Sarah on October 28, 2020 at 2:33 PM

    MV this is amazing.

    I love your writing flow- it is very calming and guiding. Such a heartwarming and realistic conversation to have between the beauty in both life and death.

    Thank you for sharing.

  18. kiana on October 30, 2020 at 2:51 PM


    This poem brought me so much peace. As you dance between the inevitability of death and focusing on the present moment, it reminds me of my journey through meditation and how hard it was to just bring focus to the place that I was in. The way you break apart the elements and surrender to them in a way in this poem is so powerful! Please keep writing!

  19. Phuong Nguyen on October 30, 2020 at 2:53 PM

    Truly a beautiful poem! I myself also really love literary works that are meditating and Buddhism centered, with the teaching that each and every individual should focus on the lasting elements that make up ourselves, to be able to come to terms with the inevitability of death. It is a philosophy I entail, and a philosophy that can bring peace to us human beings. Thank you very much for these beautiful stanzas!

  20. Brittani Forman on November 2, 2020 at 10:48 AM

    Hey MV! Such a strong poem. It really made me think. I love passion and emotion behind it. It really spoke to me. Never give up!

  21. JM on November 2, 2020 at 12:54 PM

    Dear MV,

    I really enjoyed this poem because, despite centering on death, it conveyed an overall attitude of peace and solace. It reminded me of one of my favorite poets, Ocean Vuong, because his poetry is also influenced by Buddhist practice and he practices a death meditation every day. I like the idea you presented of going, “Back to dust for someone else’s being,” because in my family’s faith, Catholicism, we hear “from ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” but we don’t think as much about how we could be reconstituted in a new form. That’s something that I feel is ultimately more optimistic and fosters a more nurturing attitude towards our planet. I also love the line, “Thankful for my time, the elements, my temporary tent.” It has a musical quality to it that adds to the sense of peace.

    Thanks for sharing!

  22. Skyler on November 3, 2020 at 6:29 PM

    This poem gives off a really nice peaceful vibe. I really love the imagery and scene you were able to set with it!

  23. Allison Bai on November 8, 2020 at 7:52 PM

    Hello MV,

    This was a really insightful look into your spiritual journey. I especially loved your line about returning to the original stream and how you refer to your body as a temporary tent. This poem was both comforting and frightening. You have a lot of talent — that’s a very difficult balance to hit.

    I’m Chinese. Growing up, my father used to tell me creation myths from old classics. One of my favorites was about the first humans and how they were created from clay, dirt, and soil. Your poem reminded me of that old memory so I’m very grateful I had the chance to read it.

    I’m curious what answer you’ll settle on as far as when we all truly die. I often wonder the same thing myself.

    Thank you for sharing,

  24. Adrian Kocinski on November 11, 2020 at 2:52 PM

    This poem is incredibly power. I love how you tap into the primordial essence of what it means to be alive in the first place. I think your study of meditation a buddhism is beautiful and has lead you to create a truly inspiring piece!

  25. Gretch on November 11, 2020 at 2:58 PM

    Dear MV,

    Though I am not versed in Buddhist teachings, I have attempted meditation before. You words bring to life the feeling I chase: ” synchronized with the wind
    At one with the planet, on earth’s axis I slowly spin”
    Yes, this is the feeling that I let wash over me. I am so honored to have connected to your powerful and moving words. After absorbing your words, I realized how honored I am to have run into your work today. Thank you for being a part of this temporary tent and for crossing paths with me.

  26. Erik Celis on November 19, 2020 at 9:07 PM

    Hi. The only way I can describe this poem is real. Almost every verse, in some way was tied to death which was a constant reminder that we are not going to be in this earth forever. The vibe was positive and peaceful, which is how anyone should live their life. Live life free from toxicity and bad energy.

  27. Clifford on November 20, 2020 at 4:26 PM

    Hey MV! I really enjoyed how passionate your writing is. I can tell you really care for your writings.

  28. beth on November 21, 2020 at 1:18 PM

    I really liked the perspective on death that you convey through this poem. I especially resonated with the cyclical nature of life and death. Modern society often views death as the end, but like you conveyed in your piece, the matter that you are made of returns to the earth when you die, becoming the new building blocks to create new life.

  29. Anneliese on November 21, 2020 at 8:34 PM

    MV, I really enjoyed reading your poem. There is something very calming and serene about it. I like the part where you talk about, ” all I can do is be patient and and enjoy this present life,” because I think it is very important to enjoy every moment because you never know what is going to happen in life.

  30. Lyndsay on December 3, 2020 at 5:27 PM

    I absolutely love the spirituality in this poem. I myself am very spiritual as well and I love to hear about other peoples’ experiences. This poem brings me comfort and peace. Life is short and precious and we need to be reminded every once in a while.

  31. Olivia R on December 12, 2020 at 11:24 PM

    This was a great poem to read and reflect upon! You have such a positive outlook and mindset, and It can truly inspire many people. I was really surprised when you said, “All I can do is be patient and enjoy this present life.” This is such an important statement, and I believe that several people forget about enjoying the present and not the past. This was beautiful; continue to write and inspire others!

  32. Joyce on January 7, 2021 at 5:44 PM

    Dear MV,

    Wow, this poem is so moving, lyrical, and beautiful. The imagery is stunning. You make the idea of death less scary and more peaceful. It’s so fascinating to hear about your inspiration and thinking behind this poem. The poem is very deep and profound, you are so right, in that we are born from nature and we will return to nature. Life is a gift and we should savor it and live it well. Thank you for this amazing poem.


  33. Samantha on January 30, 2021 at 8:03 PM


    I love this poem. The serenity and calm is incredible! I loved the opening stanza especially, I loved how it introduced the questioning about the afterlife. I hope that you continue to write poetry in this vein, and explore meditation and Buddhism.



  34. Zach Phelps on March 30, 2021 at 1:56 PM

    I love the element of wonder that you used, questioning and think about the future and other aspects of life. I especially loved the ending involving patience and enjoying life. Patience is actually something I’ve been working on lately because I don’t like to wait, but I wanna work on that and be okay with waiting and being patient. This poem, especially again those last few lines really spoke to me. It was really amazing how you created such an impactful poem that I really connected to. Thank you for sharing!

  35. Mason Anderson on March 31, 2021 at 12:47 PM

    This poem really spoke to me. As someone who also meditates and appreciates many of the practices of Buddhism, I felt deeply moved by the things you’ve said. I often will get wrapped up in what will happen to me in the future, but at the end of the day it is important to make the most of the moment we are in right now because that is all we truly have. Thank you for sharing this, and thank you for sharing your thought about your writing as well.

  36. Billie Marcheva on May 5, 2021 at 8:29 PM

    Hi, MV,

    I can see so much profound thought in your poem and in your note. From these words, I get a strong sense of unity and community, in the way that all life is interconnected and flows together through time. I think it’s important that we, as humans, are aware of the way we impact the environment, other animals, and each other. Your words brought me peace, comfort, and hope to read. I agree that death is simply a part of life and thus should be accepted, not feared, if our minds allow us to look at it this way.
    Sending you good vibes:)

  37. Chynel on November 8, 2021 at 12:37 PM

    I really love this poem! I agree with a lot of the things you described in your writing. It made me think about how I live my own life and that maybe I should step back and examine how my elements relate to the Earth. Thank you!

  38. Andrew F on April 7, 2022 at 8:28 PM


    This poem is a wonderful meditation. It speaks of acceptance of what is, what will be, what is known and what cannot be known, in a way that I myself wish I could have such comfort.

    Thank you

  39. Julia Santosuosso on November 23, 2022 at 12:25 AM

    I loved reading these words. I have always believed in the true importance of living in gratitude and have tried my best to remain true to that even in the harshest stages of my life. Gratitude mends so many emotional wounds and helps us to live a life so full of love and happiness no matter what we may be going through. Also, the idea of living in the present moment is something that I have struggled with a lot throughout my own life. But it is something that I have always strived for and will continue to strive for for as long as I am capable.

  40. Lucy H on May 7, 2024 at 4:08 PM

    Hi MV,

    Your poem truly depicts the idea of spirituality and peace with your word choice and personification. Your words bring pictures and emotions to the reader’s mind, and the use of personification allows the reader to experience as you experience, as depicted by your poem. It is a beautiful read: the idea of making peace with death as it is inevitable. Your poem, also, almost calls the reader to ponder on their own life, and how they have spent their “elements”. Finally, I noticed that you pulled a couple different ideas of death from different belief systems, and I think it was wonderfully done, and truly pulls all readers together and unifies them, no matter their differences. Overall, a beautiful poem with such important meaning.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The poets featured here are currently incarcerated, and many of them are in federal prisons far from home. Your feedback is a valuable source of motivation and connection to the outside community. Post your comments, feedback, and encouragement in the space below the poem. Messages will be passed on directly to the author. Comments may not appear immediately on the site, as our team processes them to mail to the poets.