John Updike Endpoint and Other Poems

ISBN 13: 9780141044507

Endpoint and Other Poems

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9780141044507: Endpoint and Other Poems

"Endpoint" opens with a series of connected poems which were written on the occasions of Updike's recent birthdays and culminate in his confrontation with his final illness. They look back on the boy that Updike once was, on his family and little town and the circumstances that fed his love of writing. Then there are 'Other Poems', ranging from fanciful musings about what it would be like to be a stolen Rembrandt painting to celebratory outpourings that capture the spontaneity and flux of life. Finally, there is a set of sonnets, some of which are inspired by exotic travels in distant lands, and some of which simply take pleasure in the idiosyncrasies of nature in Updike's own backyard. For John Updike, the writing of poetry was always a special joy, and this final collection is an eloquent and moving testament to the life of this extraordinary writer.

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About the Author:

John Updike was born in 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania, and died in January 2009. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Half Moon, Small Cloud

Caught out in daylight, a rabbit's
transparent pallor, the moon
is paired with a cloud of equal weight:
the heavenly congruence startles.

For what is the moon, that it haunts us,
this impudent companion immigrated
from the system's less fortunate margins,
the realm of dust collected in orbs?

We grow up as children with it, a nursemaid
of a bonneted sort, round-faced and kind,
not burning too close like parents, or too far
to spare even a glance, like movie stars.

No star but in the zodiac of stars,
a stranger there, too big, it begs for love
(the man in it) and yet is diaphanous,
its thereness as mysterious as ours.

Evening Concert, Sainte-Chapelle

The celebrated windows flamed with light
directly pouring north across the Seine;
we rustled into place. Then violins
vaunting Vivaldi's strident strength, then Brahms,
seemed to suck with their passionate sweetness,
bit by bit, the vigor from the red,
the blazing blue, so that the listening eye
saw suddenly the thick black lines, in shapes
of shield and cross and strut and brace, that held
the holy glowing fantasy together.
The music surged; the glow became a milk,
a whisper to the eye, a glimmer ebbed
until our beating hearts, our violins
were cased in thin but solid sheets of lead.
Country Music
February 1999
Oh Monica, you Monica
In your little black beret,
You beguiled our saintly Billy
And led that creep astray.

He'd never seen thong underpants
Or met a Valley girl;
He was used to Southern women,
Like good old Minnie Pearl.

You vamped him with your lingo,
Your notes in purple ink,
And fed him Vox and bagels
Until he couldn't think.

You were our Bill's Delilah
Until Acquittal Day;
You're his-tor-y now, Monica,
In your little black beret.

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