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IIn the poem “Starfall”, written in January this year, Lynn Moe Swe, a celebrated Burmese poet from Monywa, a town on the banks of the Chindwin 136 kilometres north-west of Mandalay, contemplates a supernova or stardeath: “Sometimes/ I wonder what it is like to fall like a star”. Eight months later, on 18 September, Lynn Moe Swe died from alcohol poisoning. 

Death is a common poetic preoccupation, and “Starfall” isn’t Lynn’s only verse apropos the Reaper. His 2015 poem, “Until the end of the wake”, foreshadows the manner of his own death, including the funeral. After he collapsed from excessive drinking, everybody thought nothing serious had happened. Poets passing out after one too many drinks is nothing new. 

Even after he was declared brain dead, his heart was still pounding as if he would wake up and walk at any moment. His funeral and entombment were hastily organised on the day of his death, exactly as he had written in his “wake” poem. His poet friends didn’t fail to publish the poem in Lynn’s funeral handout. On top of that, Lynn would have appreciated the wreaths he received from three different Burmese poets’ associations.

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