The meaning of the word 'dirge' is a musical term which refers to a funeral song, a slow, mounrful musical composition. In this poem the lyrical self calls for death.
In the second stanza the lyrical self addresses his friends and his lovers and prohibits them to feel sorry for him. He does not want flowers to be thrown to his coffin, nor he wants his lover to cry over his grave.
I was going to write a comment about how I would like to be buried in a beautiful scenic happy place, then I remembered I wrote a poem long ago with opening sentiments of a similar nature, so wrote nothing of present desires. But the past added new dimensions of meaning in memory so I will add of poem below for anyone interested.
If not please ignore :) My poem slants off into differing directions from Shakespeare, not sure if I like my own youthful ending, it was another me.
Shed No Tears
Don’t look for me by the graveyard stone
that stands forlornly all alone,
Don’t look here for that which remains
among this field of windswept grain.
Beside a timeless ancient oak
towering silently high above
the soft dark earth that gives it strength.
Standing securely against
these chilling gales and monsoon rains.
Sheltering that unimportant part
you mourn for here that still survives.
Do not weep my love
it’s an illusion I am not here.
For I am there by your fireside
when you’re all alone and wonder why.
I am there on those miss you nights
when you lie awake so long so softly cry.
In the child’s laughter
the tender caring smile.
In the open and gentle act
that holds out a hand
asking no thanks or pay me back.
I am there in the love and time
given to those in need,
with desperate troubled minds.
My love for you still lights a glow
that leads you on to strive alone.
To try to ease those fallen souls.
Shattered wastewood of our time.
Where personal gain, possessions, power - -
are the dominant themes,
holding the spotlight
in an unbalanced hour.
The false and useless social goals
of a hedonistic, me first society,
that you now strive to change alone.
So shed no tears for me my love
for where you find a few that care,
my spirit lives,
finding comfort there.
My only sorrow was leaving you,
yet for true love our time apart
is but, for a short measure in the dark.
While time will
soon restore the bridge,
so do not cry, don’t despair.
Remember me my love
and I am there.
Death is a door
Death is a forest gate, bramble to bluff (Siloam)
It is a way thru
– not a way out
It is but the way thru
to continue what we have begun
Death is a hope
Death is a future
It draws us deeper into the self’s whole
It allows us to penetrate the wall of fear
In death their witness lights:
Jesus, Ghandi, Biko, King
Thru death their work becomes known:
Day, Merton, Hammerskjold, Romero
After death their message expands:
Lennon, Chavez, Foucauld
In spite of death their songs are sung:
Seeds sown! Life given!
Tales told! Songs sung!
To life (to come) .
(inspired by Dominick Argento’s “Dirge”,
words by William Shakespeare
performed by Jason Oby and Robert Avalon)