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By some road she came into this world,
not because you asked her.
By some road she left this world,
not because you told her.
In between her coming and going,
she passed some time here with all of us.
Oh, the places she’s been.
Next time she might be a lion
or a god
or a slave
or someone’s mother—
Then it could be your turn to die young,
and her turn to chase after you.
If you really want to cry for somebody,
why not cry for yourself?
Why not cry for all of us,
who are just passing through?
Get it all out.
Now get up.
You’ve got work to do.
This anonymous verse is from the Therigatha, a Buddhist text consisting of a collection of 73 short poems of women who were senior nuns. The poems date from a three hundred year period, starting in the late 6th century BCE. It is the companion text to the Theragatha, verses attributed to senior monks. It is the earliest known collection of women’s literature composed in India.
Source: Great Middle Way