“If We Must Die”
If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
–Claude McKay 1919
I recently visited a church last Sunday, and the pastor compelled us to think about our death. Not to invoke a deterministic notion of lamentation, but rather to force us to think about the trivialities in our lives. In his words, he asked, “What if your last fight, was your last fight?”