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Friday, December 21, 2012

Christopher Hitchens Vanity Fair Memorial

As the end of year approaches, I feel like reflecting on the things that happened this year.

Then, I found myself watching this video again.

The memorial service was held in April.

What an amazing line up of speakers!

Stephen Fry, Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, Tom Stoppard, Sean Penn, Francis Collins, and physicist Lawrence Krauss, Paul Wolfowitz, Anna Wintour, as well as Hitchens’s wife Carol Blue, brother Peter Hitchens....

James Fenton's poem was particularly moving.

What would the dead want from us
Watching from their cave?
Would they have us forever howling?
Would they have us rave
Or disfigure ourselves, or be strangled
Like some ancient emperor’s slave?

None of my dead friends were emperors
With such exorbitant tastes
And none of them were so vengeful
As to have all their friends waste
Waste quite away in sorrow
Disfigured and defaced.

I think the dead would want us
To weep for what they have lost.
I think that our luck in continuing
Is what would affect them most.
But time would find them generous
And less self-engrossed.

And time would find them generous
As they used to be
And what else would they want from us
Than an honoured place in our memory,
favourite room, a hallowed chair,
Privilege and celebrity?

And so the dead might cease to grieve
And we might make amends
And there might be a pact between
Dead friends and living friends.
What our dead friends would want from us
Would be such living friends.

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