The Story of The Dash Poem

Written by Linda Ellis

A simple poem Linda Ellis wrote one afternoon in 1996 forever changed her life. She faxed a copy of The Dash Poem to a syndicated radio show in Atlanta. The host of this popular show read it on the air. Then, 36 lines touched millions of lives! The poem has now taken on a life of its own by. Call it uncomplicated poetry in a complicated world!



Linda wrote the poem during a period when she was working for the top executives of a large and successful corporation with a strict and tense working environment. It seemed to her there were far too many worrying more about making a living, than making a life.

Also, words from a letter she had read were resonating in the back of her mind. These words had been written by the wife of an employee who was aware that she was dying:

“Regrets? I have a few. Too much worrying about finding the right husband and having children, being on time, being late and so on. It didn’t matter. It all works out, and it would have worked out without the worries and the tears. If I would have known then what I know now. But I did, and so do you. We’re all going to die. Stop worrying and start loving and living.”

Her words stuck with Linda and made her stop and think: This is it. This is all we get.



The Dash has indeed affected millions. The poem’s words have convinced mothers to spend more time with their children, fathers to spend more time at home, and people to reunite with long-lost loved ones. The words have changed attitudes and changed the direction of lives. They have, in their own way, made a difference.

In 2006, a short video version of the poem was created and posted online. Since then, more than 30 million people have watched this video. The Dash book, published in 2006, has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.

Southwestern Inspire Kindness is expanding the awareness of the poem and its message through products and partnerships that embody the meaning of The Dash.

Other Inspire Kindness Brands:


the dash poem printable

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Dash Poem Wallet Cards
Live Your Dash Gifts
Live Your Dash Jewelry