This poem comes courtesy of The New Yorker, and was written weeks before the demise of legendary novelist, poet, critic, and short-story writer, John Updike, who died in January.
My window tells me the euonymus
arrives now at the last and deepest shade
of red, before its leaves let go. One of
my grandsons leaves a phone message for me;
his voice has deepened. A cold that wouldn't let go
is now a cloud upon my chest X-ray;
pneumonia. My house is now a cage
I prowl, window to window, as I wait
for time to take away the cloud within.
The rusty autumn gold is glorious.
Blue jays and a small gray bird, white-chested,
decline to join the seasonal escape
and flit on bushes below. Is this an end?
I hang, half-healthy, here, and wait to see."
November 2, 2008
And from "Duino Elegies" by Rainer Maria Rilke:
"Murderers are easily seen through. But this: to accept death, even before life, the whole of death, and not to be angry, is past description."
Chateau Muzot, Switzerland, 1922.