by Robert McNamara
If this is dying, I don’t think much of it,
said Lytton Strachey as he died.
How many eminent Victorians
had death laid at his feet, to be autopsied –
some might say flayed – by his pen,
veneers of virtue stripped away,
the springs of action force and fraud.
A frail man, moderate talent, non-believer
in the flawless, he sketched his England
as a host of bunglers posed
in liveries of selfless service.
Where facts were missing or recalcitrant,
he’d marshal innuendo and witty hunch.
He read Freud, cathecting on unmasking’s
master. Cheered on the primal horde.
If this was life, did he think much of it?
He thrived on conversation, champagne
and crab cakes on sunny afternoons, good
friends. Some were with him when he died.
Last updated June 05, 2015