Borges: There is a mirror that has seen me the last time
Carrie Fisher: Life can be just as demanding as death

Lattimore: I hate death. I hate all who speak well of it.

Witness to Death

Disconsolate I
from the thinning line
have seen friends drop and die.
All I called mine
has gone or will go
from its place in the sun.
This we know,
and nothing can be done.

Villon, Nashe, Dunbar,
to  your great testaments
I too assent from afar,
bestow my violence,
and throw my rhyme
and rage in the feeding face
of the great pig of time--
Beauty gone from her place,

wit wasted and lost,
promise killed with blight,
McCarter and George Frost.
Dilys who was delight,
Gilly suddenly gone,
Cartwright killed in the air,
Forrester, Conklin undone
in their prime. Where, where

is the rose, and the great
heart, and the shine of wit?
I hate death. I hate
all who speak well of it.
Dunbar, Nashe, Villon,
we sang as best we could
for the sake of those who are gone,
and it does no good.

  --Richmond Lattimore (1906-1984). Poem published in The Voice That Is Great Within Us, ed. Hayden Carruth (1970)


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I knew him as Professor Lattimore,
His course was Homer -all in Greek.
We students struggled to translate
While he listened, disconsolate.
In time, he published, to acclaim
Earning everlasting fame
From his own translations.
Over the years I have learned
That nations will to war
And to hate death.

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