John Updike RIP

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them."

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooks

6 Comments
Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Jon wrote:

How very sad—a great loss.  Here’s today’s brief Washington Post story about him:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/27/AR2009012701672.html

And here is his lovely “Seven Stanzas at Easter” which Kendall posted last year:

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.
It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.
The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.
And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

January 27, 4:10 pm | [comment link]
2. justinmartyr wrote:

Great poem, Jon. Thanks

January 27, 4:23 pm | [comment link]
3. lauren wrote:

Kendall, what’s the source for that quotation?

January 27, 7:41 pm | [comment link]
4. Adam 12 wrote:

Updike’s “Roger’s Version” has a wonderful take on the seminary millieu. There was no one quite like him.

January 27, 7:41 pm | [comment link]
5. Mark Johnson wrote:

And he was a good, active Episcopalian!

January 27, 11:25 pm | [comment link]
6. stjohnsrector wrote:

I had the great grace to have had a conversation with him in 1988.  He was the step-father of one of my fraternity brothers.

January 29, 12:18 am | [comment link]
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