Donald Hall

 
 
IT IS SENSIBLE of me to be aware that I will die one of these days. I will not pass away. Every day millions of people pass away—in obituaries, death notices, cards of consolation, e-mails to the corpse’s friends—but people don’t die. Sometimes they rest in peace, quit this world, go the way of all flesh, depart, give up the ghost, breathe a last breath, join their dear ones in heaven, meet their Maker, ascend to a better place, succumb surrounded by family, return to the Lord, go home, cross over, or leave this world. Whatever the fatuous phrase, death usually happens peacefully (asleep) or after a courageous struggle (cancer). Sometimes women lose their husbands. (Where the hell did I put him?) Some expressions are less common in print: push up the daisies, kick the bucket, croak, buy the farm, cash out. All euphemisms conceal how we gasp and choke turning blue.
— Donald Hall, Essays After Eighty

Donald Hall, a former poet laureate of the United States who found a universe of meaning in the apples, ox carts and ordinary folk of his beloved rural New England, died on Saturday at his home in Wilmot, N.H. He was 89.