When I’m Gone

Burt Kempner


The earth’s supply of beauty is diminishing./Add to it what you can and say/I do this in memory of my friend, my loved one./I do it so that his light remains between two worlds.”Burt Kempner

Pinhead Angel 

By Burt Kempner

“The Four Elements,” by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1566.

“The Four Elements,” by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1566.

Burt Kempner

GAINESVILLE Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2018—

When I’m Gone
By Burt Kempner

When I’m gone,
Don’t just give me to the earth.
I loved the wind and the sky, too.
I fell under the spell of fire, hissing at me to partake of its secret knowledge.
On bright days I skimmed the surface of the sea; on darker ones I plunged far, far below.
Feed me to the elements.

I hope you’ll cry a little, not because I’m no longer here,
But because I once was,
And perhaps something I said or did
Deflected you from a hurtful path
Or kept you going down the right road when you felt alone.

Don’t bring flowers.
Don’t bring food.
If you spot an injustice, however slight, correct it.
I’ll feel it like a kiss.

When I’m gone
Know that I loved life wildly and deeply,
Until it broke open my heart
And spread like wind-blown seeds,
Falling sometimes on barren ground
And sometimes, somehow took root in Paradise.

When I’m gone
You will still see me
If you look out of the corner of your eye a certain way.
You will still hear me if you catch a hint of laughter
Amid wailing and lamentation.

The earth’s supply of beauty is diminishing.
Add to it what you can and say
I do this in memory of my friend, my loved one.
I do it so that his light remains between two worlds.

Burt Kempner

About Burt Kempner

Burt Kempner has worked as a scriptwriter in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Florida. His work has won numerous major awards, and has been seen by groups ranging in size from a national television audience in the United States to a half-dozen Maori chieftains in New Zealand. His documentaries have appeared on PBS, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, CNBC, and European and Asian TV networks. He has two dogs, a cat, a wife and a son and is randomly kind to them all. More recently, Kempner has written three rather subversive books for children: Larry the Lazy Blue Whale, Monty the Movie Star Moose and The Five Fierce Tigers of Rosa Martinez. Visit his Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/burtkempner
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4 Responses to When I’m Gone

  1. Avatar Catharina Van Leeuwe says:

    Thanks Burty, understood, will ‘see’ you some day in the etheric, formless!
    They have become so stingy on earth that I couldn’t fill out my surname to the end so I owe you the ‘n’ !!!
    Lol & Light,
    Cath X

  2. Avatar Burt Kempner says:

    Thanks, Cath! I recognized you even without the N. LOL I hope your skies are fair and your seas calm. Much love to you.

  3. Avatar Diana says:

    Simply beautiful. Will print and keep this. Moved me to tears.

  4. Avatar Burt Kempner says:

    Thank you, Diana. I’m happy the piece moved you.

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