The Dash Poem – Linda Ellis

If you’re looking for a poem to help express your feelings after the loss of a loved one, The Dash might be able to help.

Poetry is one of our most powerful means of expressing ourselves as individuals and groups, so it’s no surprise that it frequently plays an important role in life’s major events.

One of those important times is when we can reflect on the life of a lost loved one, their experiences, and their relationships with those who were touched by their life.

The Dash Poem


“The Dash” by Linda Ellis is a poem that exemplifies understanding the relationship of celebrating a life lived. Ellis’ poem speaks to the listener about the importance of the ‘dash’ that exists between their birth date and their death date.

It is both a reflection of the person’s life and a reminder to the reader to live their own ‘dash’ to the fullest.

The Dash Poem by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak

At the funeral of a friend

He referred to the dates on the tombstone

From the beginning…to the end


He noted that first came the date of birth

And spoke the following date with tears,

But he said what mattered most of all

Was the dash between those years


For that dash represents all the time

That they spent alive on earth.

And now only those who loved them

Know what that little line is worth


For it matters not, how much we own,

The cars…the house…the cash.

What matters is how we live and love

And how we spend our dash.


So, think about this long and hard.

Are there things you’d like to change?

For you never know how much time is left

That can still be rearranged.


If we could just slow down enough

To consider what’s true and real

And always try to understand

The way other people feel.


And be less quick to anger

And show appreciation more

And love the people in our lives

Like we’ve never loved before.


If we treat each other with respect

And more often wear a smile,

Remembering this special dash

Might only last a little while


So, when your eulogy is being read

With your life’s actions to rehash…

Would you be proud of the things they say

About how you spent YOUR dash?

About the Poet Linda Ellis

Linda Ellis, who was born in the United Kingdom in 1950, did not begin her career as a poet until much later. Linda grew up in the United States of America, where she worked in business.

Ellis has always enjoyed expressing herself through raw poetry and writing. She’d always had that ability within her, just waiting for the right moment to show itself to the rest of the world.

Ellis’ right time for professional writing, like everything else in life, came soon after she left her corporate job.

She realized that her work environment didn’t quite fit with who she was as a person, and she wasn’t allowed to express herself as freely as she would have liked. This marked the beginning of a new era in her life: the era of poetry.

Ellis was inspired to pursue her art after realizing the positive impact her words had on people. Ellis wrote a poem called “The Dash” in 1996, which was published in 2004. This poem gave her instant fame and introduced the world to the real Ellis. Ellis has continued to write and has won several awards for it since then.


Analysis of the poem

One of the most thought-provoking poems of our time is ‘The Dash.’ Each day provides us with numerous opportunities to reflect.

It gently coaxes us to ask the difficult questions we’ve been putting off while on the hamster wheel. Much has been written about this poem. And The Dash has many different meanings. Let us take a moment to analyze the poem so that we can better understand it.

Linda Ellis‘s poem The Dash is a contemplative poem in which “the dash” represents our life. Linda Ellis is referring to the dash that occurs between the year of our birth and the year of our death.

In this case, The Dash is a representation of life itself. Something that occurs between the time of our birth and the time of our death.

The poem shows how a small dash (or life) between the years is all that matters. It is more important to think about how we lived that dash than how long we lived it.



Finally, this poem is an invitation to live your own life fully. Linda Ellis has a gift for breaking down complex topics into inspiring steps. Reflecting on your “dash” after your funeral can be frightening, but it doesn’t have to be. Making peace with your decisions today is the best way to face your mortality.

The more open you are about your life and your desires, the easier it is to live without regrets. Have you thought about your own “dash?” Create your own end-of-life plan today to get started. You have earned the right to write your own legacy.


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