The Dash Poem: 9 Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who wrote The Dash poem?
2. What is the meaning or importance of The Dash poem?
3. What does “Live Your Dash” or “Living The Dash” mean?
4. What does the dash on a tombstone mean?
5. Who said your life is made of two dates and a dash?
6. Where can I find printables and downloads of The Dash Poem?
7. Do you have memorial cards?
8. Can I read the Dash Poem at a funeral, graduation, or other special life milestone event?
9. What are the words to The Dash Poem?

 

Who wrote The Dash poem?

Linda Ellis wrote the Dash in 1996. It has become a beloved poem often read at funerals, graduations, and other life events where we celebrate accomplishments and well-lived lives.

 

What is the meaning or importance of The Dash poem?
The Dash is about the importance of embracing every day of our lives. 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 line mark represents all of the time we lived on this earth. How did we spend the time we had on earth? Did we make the most of every day? The work of art makes us think about what truly matters in life. It serves as a reminder for each individual to make the most of their time on this earth, for we never know which day might be our last.

 

What does “Live Your Dash” or “Living The Dash” mean?
The phrase “live your dash” comes from one of the most famous poems in the world – The Dash, by Linda Ellis. It’s is the little line between the year you are born and the year you die. Live Your Dash means to be mindful that we’re only on this earth a little while. It means to spend each day with passion and purpose… and to inspire others by living a life of joy, compassion, and kindness. It’s about living the way you would want people to talk about you after you are gone. It’s creating your legacy. Similar phrases include “Carpe Diem,” “Live Your Best Life,” and “YOLO.”

 

What does the dash on a tombstone mean?
The dash that is on the gravestone represents the time on earth between the date of birth and the date of death. That little line on the headstone is significant. As the poem says, “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.”

 

Who said your life is made of two dates and a dash?
Linda Ellis wrote about our lives being represented by two dates and a dash. In her famous work, she wrote, “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.”

 

Where can I find printables and downloads of The Dash Poem?
We offer routine themed downloads in our email newsletter. You can also download a printable here.

 

Do you have memorial cards?
Yes, please shop our full line of memorial cards and funeral keepsakes.

 

Can I read the Dash Poem at a funeral, graduation, or other special life milestone event?
Yes, please refer to the Use of The Dash when looking to read the poem as a part of a eulogy, graduation speech, or another event.

 

What are the words to The Dash Poem?

THE DASH

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?

the dash poem