Trevor Hayley


Funeral and Life Memorial Celebrant

A Caring Presence for you and your family so you can Celebrate a Life

Servicing Greater Adelaide, Fleurieu, South Coast and Adelaide Hills Regions of South Australia



Walk with love, from the time of our birth, until the end.

Because of death, we appreciate life #20

This quote from Emily Dickenson, an American poet, who although little-known during her life, has since been regarded as one of the most important figures in American poetry, got me intrigued with a quote of hers:

‘Love – is anterior for Life – Posterior – To death – Initial of Creation, and the Exponent of Earth.’

For me, this is not a quote, I take one look at and go, ‘yeah, makes sense,’ and then think and consider the implications for how I live my life. No, in typical poetic style, Emily Dickenson is inviting us to delve into the depths of her words, and in so doing, uncover some truths about life.

So, to solve this puzzle, let’s consider the phrase line by line.

Love is anterior to life. Love is an interesting word, and is quite often associated with passion, but goes much deeper. It is the epitome of kindness, celebrating the truth, and having the other person front and centre, as they would also have  you. Maybe love is bigger than us, an ideal we can aim for when life is hard, and when maybe love is the furthest thing from our mind. 

Anterior, the other word in this phrase, I feel in the context of the quote, means a coming before, a mindset preparation for what life throws at us. So maybe a way to look at his first phrase, is in all we do and the way we approach life, love needs to be at the forefront of our hearts and minds.

Posterior to death. Posterior, in the context of this quote, means a coming later in time, certainly with death being the final word, well physically anyway. It comes after a life filled with love and graciousness to those we meet, and leaving a postive legacy for the world after we have gone. A life to be celebrated.

Initial of creation and exponent of earth. We come into this world, not knowing much, often learning about life as we go, but as we travel through it, we become advocates for what is good in the world; all that is good for humanity, as wisdom and the greater good becomes clearer.

For me, this quote provides an opportunity to step back and look at the bigger picture. With all of the hopes and dreams of my parents at my birth, bringing the joy and hope of a new life into this world, they would be wanting me, in my own small way, to make a postive difference in this world. To be an agent of love and hope, as I wend my way to my own final breath, as I advocate for a better world in any way I can.

Now, of course, I will probably get this more wrong than right. I am human, and incredibly fallible, and perhaps a bit fragile, and this quote will become part of my conciousness from this day on.

When I consider where I am, right now, I could easily become saddened at the parts of life not going so well, after all we all have these elements in our lives, and often we are left wondering. But on the other side of this, are the bits that are going OK.

This gives me hope, while at the same time a pause for reflection.

I trust for you as well.

This commentary in this blog is intended to be general in nature. It is just some observations from one fellow traveller in life to another. If anything in this blog raises issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or consult with a trusted medical professional.

Photo by Kiriakos-Verros on Unsplash



Trevor Hayley
Servicing Greater Adelaide and Regional South Australia

Phone: 0409 107 372


ABN 73 737 609 724

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