Sunday, September 12, 2010

On the public passing away of Christopher Hitchens

I'll probably never execute my old plan to do a model funeral service for agnostics, admittedly damned. I am now too near my own need for it to give it the proper lightness of touch. Some day somebody else will do one. It is really amazing that none has ever been drawn up. An agnostic's funeral, as things stand, consists mainly of idiotic speeches--that is, when there is any ceremony at all.
-- H. L. Mencken, diary, May 11 1940

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no-one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.
-- from Philip Larkin, "Aubade"

When death comes and whispers to me,
"Thy days are ended,"
let me say to him, "I have lived in love
and not in mere time."
He will ask, "Will thy songs remain?"
I shall say, "I know not, but this I know
that often when I sang I found my eternity."
-- Rabindranath Tagore

My best once again to him and his family.