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Sunday, May 1, 2016

"What will matter" - An E-mail from Cyril Ernest

Dear Lucky,

As I see the obituary notices of our classmates with ever increasing frequency, I was reminded of a poem written by Michael Josephson, which my wife Indranie gave me and my daughter Cheryl who compiled the souvenir  magazine for our cricket reunion in 2013, incorporated it on the last page of the magazine.The name of the poem is - What will matter - and it is rather an appropriate one to be reviewed, It goes like this -

                         What will matter

Ready or not,some day it will all come to an end.
           There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten
            Will pass to someone else

Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
            It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges,resentments, frustrations
            and jealousies will finally disappear.

So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and "to do" lists will expire.
             The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from,
             Or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
              Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So, what will matter?
              How will the value of your days be measured.

What will matter is not what you bought
              but what you built, not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success
               but your significance.

What will matter is not what you learned
                but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity,
                compassion,courage,or sacrifice
that enriched, empowered or encouraged others
                 To emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence
                  But your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew,
                   but how many will feel a lasting loss when you are gone.
What will matter is not your memories
                   but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered,
                   by whom and for what.

I am sure some would have come across this poem at sometime or the other. But I felt that it might be appropriate to review this at this time while we are still able to change our ways if needed. My daughters Cheryl and Melanie are familiar with this poem.

Kind regards,

Cyril Ernest.


  1. Dear Cyril, this is an apt reminder for me coming 'back to life', as it were, after a painful two weeks' of knee replacement surgery. I too realised that when one is in excruciating pain, one does not care who one is, what one has or achieved. Even more, your poem brings out how futile it is for man to value what he achieves when all that will remain are the few good things you do in life.Thanks for this profound statement.

  2. What a wonderful quote! Thanks Cyril. We all become wiser as the inevitability of "the end" and "what really matters", stares us in the face. I loved reading it and thanks again. Here is another quote by him. "To the barefoot man, happiness is a pair of shoes. To the man with old shoes, it's a pair of new shoes. To the man with new shoes, it's stylish shoes. And of course, the fellow with no feet would be happy to be barefoot. Measure your life by what you have not by what you don't"
    - Michael Josephson

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  4. Cyril
    It is a great reminder of what really matters. These reminders are necessary in a world full of illusions and mirages. It is so brilliantly laid out to reach the parts that matter as our flight is delayed and remain in the lounge. Thank you