Roger Ebert’s Last Words

The short clip above is from the audiobook of the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert’s Life Itself: A Memoir. It is reminiscent of David Hume’s ruminations about his impending death. It is one of the most profound and moving reflections about one’s impending deaths I’ve ever heard.

And it contains stanzas from what I consider the greatest American poem, Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” Here is the stanza Ebert quotes:

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

I’ll always think about Roger when I watch movies. And I’ll finish the poem:

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

For more about Roger Ebert (1942 – 2013) see Life Itself, the wonderful documentary about the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic and social commentator. It has a rotten tomatoes score of 100% among top critics.

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