Editor’s note: Every February we pause to honor Tsunami Ranger Commander Eric Soares, co-founder of the Rangers. This year we offer the Fear of Death poem written by Chief Tecumseh. Eric loved to read about Native American Indians. His home library contained lots of books such as “I Will Fight No More Forever” by Merrill D. Beal, “Saga of Chief Joseph” by Helen Howard, and “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse” by Peter Matthiessen. I chose this poem because to me it exemplifies Eric’s attitude toward life and death. He and I had many conversations about life and death and what it means to live and what it means to die long before we knew he would die untimely. I know he’d love this tribute. Thanks to my dojo brother Brandon Johnson without whom I would not have known about this poem.
So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.
Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
Chief Tecumseh – The Fear of Death Poem
In the fifth stanza Tecumseh advocates preparing a death song. Eric actually did this. You can read it at https://tsunamirangers.com/2013/02/01/eric-soares/
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