Obituary for the Canon | J. Sean Rafferty

Acta est Fabula, Plaudite!

It is with genuine remorse
that we acknowledge the passing of
the Literary Canon
after a long painful life—
well, painful for us at the very least.
The cause of death was as grand and
predictable as they always were.
Found Thursday evening in their estate,
deceased and rotting for quite a few decades
now. Autoerotic asphyxiation.
That is to say, their head was firmly
shoved up one of their own orifices.
Despite numerous University and critical bodies on hand
to attempt resuscitation, (that is say, they stuck
their heads up the Canon’s orifice) that
great literary body was announced dead at the scene.

We ask in this time of momentous mourning
that you think of The Canon as it were in life:
often white, primarily male, upper-middle class of course,
a proud Anglo-Saxon protestant who’d not
dare speak of religion, such a frivolous novelty,
but was forgiven their prejudice all the same
when they did. Although your grief may inspire you,
we ask you please, do not send flowers.
If one would like to celebrate this behemoth
of classics, send instead verses from their most
diligent students: Pope, Eliot, Yeats.
After all we shall need something to blow
our noses into at the funeral.
A solemn, somber ceremony shall
be conducted next Sunday, after which
The Canon shall remain lying in state
for the next decade or so in numerous
Institutions of their teaching; First
Oxford, Cambridge, of course
and then on to the Ivy Leagues.

What can one say of a classic?
Truly a product of their time, their time
ending roughly in the 1940s.
A staunch believer and protector
of the literary caste system,
only they were true literature.
They are survived by their traitorous children,
Modern, Contemporary and Alternative Literature
As well as their illegitimate grandchildren:
Free-verse, Graphic narrative, Erotica…
I could go on but I shall spare The Canon the shame.
Needless to say, these frivolous youths
shall not be in attendance.
We, the Canon’s loyal followers would not allow
Such bastardized riff raff through the doors!

The King is dead. May god have mercy on their soul.

Sean Rafferty is a redhead, a godfather and an eejit. He is an MA English Lit student at Ulster University and his work has previously been featured in Gravitas, Sage Cigarettes, the Alcala Review and Capsule Stories. When not losing games of pool he, sometimes, writes stuff.

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