The Book of the Dead

John Lowney: On "The Book of the Dead"

When the conclusion of "The Book of the Dead" reiterates the poem's opening refrain—"These roads will take you into your own country" (OS 37)—this refrain is also rewritten, insisting on the reader's active role as "witness" much more forcefully. "These roads" constructed for commerce, including the commerce of tourism, are also the roads traveled by anonymous migrant workers. "The Book of the Dead" assures that "your own country" can neither "forget" nor "keep silent" these workers' defiant narratives of counter-memory.