Len Webster's 'The Death Of Arthur Miller' Poem by Len Webster

Len Webster's 'The Death Of Arthur Miller'

Rating: 4.5

If Shakespeare died today
would the lights of Broadway
be lowered
and the BBC World Service
broadcast the announcement
at the top of the news bulletin?

Would tributes be paid
by the famously rich
whose own lives themselves
could be the subject of a play?

Would Pinter and his ilk be shocked
at the death of an 89 year-old
so close to 90 and a hero,
an unexpected frontline soldier
firing words, not bullets?

Born in New York of the struggle,
you wrote your way into history,
became the fangs of a staged century -
one of the greatest, it is now said.

'I think it's pretty lucky
to have come upon a couple of things
that have become coin of the realm, '
you said of SALESMAN and CRUCIBLE,
arch images of mad worlds
that illustrate our own.

Your voice now reissued
over the airwaves,
a calm, sane tone
against the frenetic lunacy
of hate and prejudice.

Even your love caught our imagination,
reflecting our obsession with fame,
anticipating the age of the sick royal
ground down by childhood illusions.

Without your words to guide me,
to reflect my suppressed doubts,
would I be the self I am now?

Would I feel this sense of loss
if Shakespeare had died today?

February 2005

First published in Birmingham Words Online (Issue 5)

(c) Len Webster

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