John Updike: Endpoint

I was flipping through a recent back-issue of the New Yorker last night and came across “Endpoint”, a sequence of poems by John Updike. The conversational tone and gentle, regular rhythm of the sequence gave it a beguiling warmth and humanity.

I’m a poorly read man at the best of times, so it wasn’t until I started digging around this morning that I discovered Mr. Updike had passed away in January of this year.

Reading so much intense, but not despairing, meditation on death without realising that the author was dead – I mean I could tell from the poems that he was dying, but I just assumed he was dying, not dead – makes one particular poem (“Hospital”) about the way we can never admit that death will actually ever happen, even when it’s right in front of us, even more poignant.

The sequence is available online on the New Yorker‘s website (registration is required, but it’s free as far as I can tell, and come on, it’s the New Yorker fachrissake), but if you don’t feel like adding to your cookie cache, here’s an extract from “Hospital” to get by on:

Benign big blond machine beyond all price,
it swallows us up and slowly spits us out
half-deafened and our blood still dyed: all this
to mask the simple dismal fact that we
decay and find our term of life is fixed.
This giant governance, a mammoth toy,
distracts us for the daytime, but the night
brings back the quiet, and the solemn dark.


Poet. Author. Beard. Husband. Dad. Four chickens. Dog. Cat. I can sometimes fix my lawnmower.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in i would like to recommend these people's writing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

About Adam

I'm a dad and the author of the poetry collections The Third Fruit is a Bird and Not Quite the Man for the Job, the novel Man Bites Dog and the short story collection Heroes and Civilians.

I'm currently working on "Dance to the Anticlinal Fold", a spoken word walking tour that will be part of the Castlemaine State Festival in 2019. Find out more about the show here.

Bookings for public appearances can be made through Booked Out Speakers Agency

This website was created on Dja Dja Wurrung land.
Like what you read?
Go off-blog with Adam's ebooks!

Heroes And Civilians, featuring Stories about superheroes, octuplets, giant monsters, rabbits, robots & astronauts, is FREE TO DOWNLOAD RIGHT NOW!

ta-wit ta-woo
%d bloggers like this: