Sunday, March 07, 2004

From a photograph we saw in Time magazine, in which he wore a plaid woolen shirt, Arthur Miller was for my twin brother and me a heroic independent figure, and pretty soon we both acquired plaid shirts, even though we were too young for pipes....

The face was lantern-jawed and Lincolnesque. Its seams were clamped round a pipe that for a long time was as iconic as General MacArthur's, and as the years wore on, the features became more grooved, and as inflexible as granite. This was Arthur Miller, and in the moral conflict to come with the persecutions of Senator MacCarthy, the face became an emblem for the American conscience. It said both "Non Serviam", "I will not serve", and, even though it was Jewish, the famous New England warning, "Don’t tread on me."

-- From Derek Walcott's tribute to Arthur Miller, delivered in January to accompany the staging of excerpts from Death of a Salesman in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, & published in this weekend's St. Lucia Star (see this story by Petulah Olibert for details of the event).

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