Good Night, My Darlings
Poem By gershon hepner
When life gives a bum rap, don’t kvetch and don’t bitch,
for weeping solves nothing, it’s better to chortle
when forced to strike out once delivered the pitch
that tells us the game’s up since we’re only mortal.
“Good night, my darlings, I’ll see you tomorrow, ”
the famous last lines of Sir Noël, no coward,
are well worth recalling when, grieving with sorrow,
despair grows like weeds in the hearts when joy flowered.
John Simon reviews “The Letters of Noël Coward, ” edited with commentary by Barry Day (“Sir Noël’s Epistles, ” NYT Book Review, November 25,2007) :
The astute English critic Kenneth Tynan identified Broadway humor as being chiefly of two kinds: Jewish and homosexual. He might have called it kvetch and bitch, perfectly good types, but not really British. Noël Coward, who was only one of those two things, specialized in neither type in his oeuvre. He kept it all for his correspondence. So “The Letters of Noël Coward, ” edited and commented on by Barry Day, may come as a surprise to most readers. It abounds in both kinds of humor, as only Sir Noël (knighted very late in life owing to obstruction by Winston Churchill) could dish it out. But it follows like Day the knight that, given the editor’s several books of Cowardiana, what we get is much more than just Coward’s letters, however delectable…
As Tynan perceptively wrote, “Coward took the fat off English comic dialogue; he was the Turkish bath in which it slimmed.” In 1973, at a gala performance of the revue “Oh, Coward! , ” he made his last public appearance (I was there) . Leaning on Dietrich more than escorting her, he was asked if he enjoyed the show. Answer: “One does not laugh at one’s own jokes — but I went out humming the tunes.” On the closing night of his life, in Jamaica with his secretary Cole Lesley and his companion, the actor Graham Payn, he took leave with, “Good night, my darlings, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Dead on the morrow, he didn’t get to see them. But we, happily, will see him in his immortal plays, as another famous Scotsman put it, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.