The following poem, a remarkably jaunty and sardonic performance and presumably written in the weeks before John Updike’s death, will be included in the posthumous collection Endpoint. Thanks to Reuters for making it available.
by John Updike
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.