meaning of the dash poem

The Meaning of The Dash Poem

The Dash Poem, written by Linda Ellis, is a poem that discusses the importance of embracing each and every day of our lives. We often get asked: what is the meaning of the dash poem. After each of us passes away, we will be remembered by two notable dates: our birth date and our death date, separated by a dash in between. That tiny dash mark represents all of the time we lived on this earth. 

How will we spend the time we have? How will we make the most of every single moment? The Dash poem makes us think about what truly matters in life. For those who haven’t read the poem, here it is:


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 of 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 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 still can be rearranged.

To 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 that 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 lived your dash?

To ‘Live Your Dash’ means to live every day to the fullest. Live for this moment that you have right now. Appreciate the simple joys in life that are right in front of you every day. Sometimes we forget to be grateful for what we have in life: our family, our friends, our health. Take time to realize how many things in your life you have that you are thankful for. Cherish every minute you have with your loved ones, be kind to others, and give back when you can.

They say it’s important to live every day like it could be our last because we never know when that final day will come. Thinking of what you’ve done so far in this lifetime, are you happy with how you’ve lived your dash? Start living your life for today, and let this poem remind you to live, to love, and to make the most of your dash.

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