“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

Will greet my overdue demise;

The wide response will be, I know,

‘I thought he died a while ago.’

“For life’s a shabby subterfuge,

And death is real, and dark, and huge.

The shock of it will register

Nowhere but where it will occur.”

— From John Updike‘s forthcoming collection, “Endpoint and Other Poems.” Posted today in the N.Y. Times Op/Ed section.