c. 500 BC | Ephesus

Carted Off All the Same

The luckiest men die worthwhile deaths.

Though what the waking see is deadly,
what the sleeping see is death.

Gods live past our meager death.
We die past their ceaseless living.

As souls change into water
on their way through death,
so water changes into earth.
And as water springs from earth,
so from water does the soul.

Corpses, like night soil,
get carted off.

The luckiest men die
worthwhile deaths.

Yearning hurts,
and what release
may come of it
feels much like death.

After death, comes
nothing hoped for
nor imagined.



From his fragments. All of the philosopher’s extant thoughts, believed to have been contained originally in one book, exist as fragments quoted in the works of later writers, among them Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, Sextus Empiricus, and Diogenes Laërtius. Among the defining characteristics of Heraclitus’ conception of the world are the “logos”—a reason and order that the harmonious yet fluctuating universe can convey to the wise man—and elemental fire, which constitutes the soul of man.