Updike Mused on Own 'Overdue Demise'

3-stanza poem to be published this year
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2009 12:44 PM CST
In this undated file photo released by Alfred A. Knopf shows John Updike, who died this week of lung cancer.   (AP Photo/Martha Updike, Alfred A. Knopf)
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(Newser) – John Updike considered his own mortality, and did so with his usual wry wit. The evidence is in one of his last poems called "Requiem," writes the New York Post. It begins:

"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."

The poem will be published in a collection coming out in September, the Post notes.