Thursday, January 29, 2009

Farewell, John Updike

Writer John Updike died on January 27th, of lung cancer.  I was a fan of his Rabbit books, and loved The Witches of Eastwick.  Here is a recent poem of his that is due to be released in a collection called "Endpoint and Other Poems":


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.


BookWormz said...

How terribly sad. He was a great author and will be missed.

coffee said...

I haven't fallen in love with all of Updike's work, but i do love his candid writing style; his passing is a sad loss indeed

Lisa said...

I love the poem. How sadly appropriate.

Gentle Reader said...

Bookworms--I agree!

coffee--I didn't enjoy all of his work, but liked his style, too.

Lisa--isn't it sadly appropriate? You're so right.

litlove said...

What an extraordinarily prescient poem! Thank you for posting that, Gentle Reader. I was in the middle of reading Rabbit, Run when I heard the news, which was very odd. I agree with you that he was an excellent stylist and his death is a loss to American literature.

Gentle Reader said...

litlove--I remember you saying you were reading one of the Rabbit books--how odd, indeed. I like this poem because it has a sense of humor, and then there's that punch at the end, of his awareness of the void.