John Updike pondered death in new poem

Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:42pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. writer John Updike's death made headlines this week, but in a poem due to be published later this year he mused about his "overdue demise" being received with "a shrug and tearless eyes."

The three stanza poem, "Requiem," will be published in Updike's forthcoming collection "Endpoint" in September, said Nicholas Latimer, director of publicity at Alfred A. Knopf, a unit of Random House.

Updike, a leading writer of his generation who chronicled the drama of small-town American life with flowing and vivid prose, wit and a frank eye for sex, died on Tuesday of lung cancer. He was 76.

The poem reads:

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   Continued...

<p>Author John Updike smiles as he is interviewed at the Reuters office in Boston, Massachusetts in this December 12, 2005 file photo. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/Files</p>