In a new work in progress (WIP), a character of some many years—feisty and notorious for speaking his mind—becomes disenchanted, disappointed, and bitter.
He is asked to write a eulogy on the passing of a longtime friend. The friend was an active, loved church member, associate, and—unbeknownst to the small community where they retired to escape their less-than-virtuous lives—an arch criminal.
The result is a shocking, less-than-glowing list of evil deeds to be revealed at the funeral. He is urged to rewrite the scathing expose. He refuses, believing honesty more important than conventional good manners.
The following poem recorded in his personal diary captures his new belief.
Do not speak ill of the dead!
That having said, I shall
flap my lips, wag candid tongue,
hoist the verbiage black and read,
speak truth about the dead.
Outline all the right and wrong,
unblemished reputation splattered.
Far better now to say instead,
it’s only truth that matters, go ahead.
If it’s not lies, speak unpleasantness,
Thus having said, I shall
speak ill of the dead.