Epitaphs – Prompt

For this week, write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece in which an epitaph features prominently.

What is an epitaph? It is a short text honoring a deceased person, often etched on tombstones. It may be a poem, a bit of lyrics, or a quote. Edgar Lee Masters famously developed an entire community through his fictional epitaphs.

The Epitaph Browser may inspire you as well.

This can be a short as the epitaph itself, or the epitaph can be part of a longer story. As our New Yearโ€™s gift to you, this will have a hefty word limit: 500 words or less.


The weathered tombstone on the left reads:

Here lies a young woman, we dare not utter her name,
Her husband looks away, her children cry in shame.

Her deed was one that she tried to sweep away,
Sure that her sin would stay covered for another day.

Instead it grew and finally overtook her life,
Such a horrid sin for such a perfect wife.

So if you stand here looking down upon her hole.
Know that a messy house will curse your mortal soul.


The newer stone on the right:

Here lies a very old man, preceded years earlier by his wife.
She left him a messy house and he cursed her life.

Time taught him that the time she never spent with a broom,
Was nothing when she never again graced his room.

Focused more on the things that she did not do around the house,
He learned his lessons on what made a good spouse.

It was the love, smiles and fun she had brought to their days,
Not her scattered and messy little ways.

*Blogger Note: I do not want a job ever in my life to engrave someone’s last words.

Categories: Uncategorized

11 replies

  1. Those are really cute! I know that they’re last words on a headstone but I like them.

  2. Very nice! Rhyming is the bane of my life, ironic considering I write music, but there you go. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I like this. The messy house and it killing them both in the end, LOL. Makes you stop and think.

  4. I had a sign in myn kitchen for years that said. My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. I live by those words, should be my epitaph. Good writing and rhyming.

  5. Very clever (although I have a hard time imagining all those words fitting on a tombstone). I love how you told a whole story in two gravestones.

  6. This was FUN:~) I love poetry that rhymes and read it aloud. These epitaphs were great to read aloud and I loved that were joined.


  7. Wonderful. Funny, poignant, and full of wonder.

    You’ve made a whole world in so few words. But such lovely words they are.

  8. I really enjoyed this! though I for a minute thought that her sin was greater the sin of being messy.

  9. I really enjoyed this! though I for a minute thought that her sin was greater the sin of being messy.

    I should have signed in using this address. Sorry for the double comment

  10. Without dialogue, without description, you told a story and created characters. Bravo! ๐Ÿ™‚

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