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Edward Shils in Heaven

Dear Edward, sleepless, lonely, I think of you tonight
In Heaven, out for a leisurely stroll, yet ready for a fight.
Before illogic, false sentiment, sophistry you could never bend,
Now five years dead, why change, allow mere Heaven to forfend?
Master of blistering tirade, scorching academic cant,
Skewering intellectual charade with terrifying rant.
You were the best of haters and for the best of reasons,
Blasting all the virtuous clerks and all their little treasons.
A lover of courage, Dickens, Dunhill’s ink in deepest green,
Useful shops, dark thick soups, competence, spiced“up aubergine.
Has Heaven food fiery and rich enough for your ample need?
Are there good books and journals in the place for you to read?
Have you discovered an angel with your gift for repartee?
Did you abandon salty Yiddish, shift to Quaker thou and thee?
Pious agnostic, I cannot picture you sitting at God’s knee.
Sweet curmudgeon, do you ever think of me?

”Joseph Epstein

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