Thursday, January 29, 2009

Requiem by John Updike


The novelist John Updike died yesterday. I bumped into him a few times in Harvard U Yard when I was in graduate school there in 1960-65, just as Edward Said and Fredric Jameson were saying goodbye two years before I left in 1965. Updike's "Requiem" strikes the appropriate note at this time of the worst crisis of global capitalism.--ESJ


REQUIEM


By JOHN UPDIKE
Published: January 28, 2009

It came to me the other day:

Were I to die, no one would say,

“Oh, what a shame! So young, so full

Of promise — depths unplumbable!”

Instead, a shrug and tearless eyes

Will greet my overdue demise;

The wide response will be, I know,

“I thought he died a while ago.”

For life’s a shabby subterfuge,

And death is real, and dark, and huge.

The shock of it will register

Nowhere but where it will occur.

— JOHN UPDIKE

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