Do not speak ill of the dead

In a new work in progress (WIP), a character of some many years—feisty and notorious for speaking his mind—becomes disenchanted, disappointed, and bitter.

He is asked to write a eulogy on the passing of a longtime friend. The friend was an active, loved church member, associate, and—unbeknownst to the small community where they retired to escape their less-than-virtuous lives—an arch criminal.

The result is a shocking, less-than-glowing list of evil deeds to be revealed at the funeral. He is urged to rewrite the scathing expose. He refuses, believing honesty more important than conventional good manners.

The following poem recorded in his personal diary captures his new belief.


Do not speak ill of the dead!

That having said, I shall

flap my lips, wag candid tongue,

hoist the verbiage black and read,

speak truth about the dead.

Outline all the right and wrong,

unblemished reputation splattered.

Far better now to say instead,

it’s only truth that matters, go ahead.

If it’s not lies, speak unpleasantness,

illuminated veracity,

impolite accuracy.

Thus having said, I shall

speak ill of the dead.

7 thoughts on “Do not speak ill of the dead

  1. Hi,
    Your character doesn’t like to speak ill of the dead, but after reading your end, it sounds like you think it’s okay. Am I right?
    Thank you for visiting my site yesterday and liking my post “9 Proven Ways to Skyrocket Your Traffic.” The post seemed well received.
    Nice to meet you.

    • Hi, Janice. The fictional character in this fictional story in the first line of his poem exclaims the commonly held belief of his societal group: “Do not speak ill of the dead!” and then goes on to elaborate the reasons he feels it necessary, in this instance, to ignore the commonly held prohibition.

      As for it being my personal belief to never speak ill of the dead, I never say. However, as both an author and artist, I do not support any form of censorship that suppresses truth, silences the expression of opinion, or stifles creativity.
      Thank you for visiting my site. -Jack

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