Guest poem sent in by Jeffrey Sean Huo
(Poem #1767) Sonnet II, from "To W.P."
With you a part of me hath passed away; For in the peopled forest of my mind A tree made leafless by this wintry wind Shall never don again its green array. Chapel and fireside, country road and bay, Have something of their friendliness resigned; Another, if I would, I could not find, And I am grown much older in a day. But yet I treasure in my memory Your gift of charity, and young hearts ease, And the dear honour of your amity; For these once mine, my life is rich with these. And I scarce know which part may greater be,-- What I keep of you, or you rob from me.
A brief biography of George Santayana was run with Minstrels Poem #25 ("The Poet's Testament"). This poem was first published in 1896, as part of Santayana's collection "Sonnets and other Verses". The W.P. of the title was Warrick Potter, who tragically died of complications from a boating accident three years earlier. Santayana suffered a number of significant personal griefs and shocks as he approached his 30th birthday, including the tragic deaths of many of his close friends. But the death of Potter, whom Santayana described as his "last real friend", hit Santayana particularly hard. Today's poem is the second of four sonnets written by Santayana in memory of his friend. For me, Santayana in this sonnet captures a very deep idea within his lines. Every death is a sorrow. But there are a rare few individuals close to us, who filled our lives and the lives of all around them with life and laughter and joy. Who touched us deeply with their wit and wonder, humor and imagination, kindness and beauty. Those deaths hurt especially deeply precisely because their lives enriched us so. Or, to turn around Santayana's closing: we wouldn't be filled with so much sorrow at their deaths, if their lives hadn't filled us with such laughter and joy. There was a young lady of brilliant humor and wonderful imagination, founder and moderator of an online humor quotations community myself and many of my friends are a part of. In August, she went to the emergency room for severe abdominal pain and was discovered to have a highly aggressive metatastic colon cancer. Despite heroic measures, she died on Thursday, exactly a month before her thirty-third birthday. This poem is submitted to Minstrels in her memory. Jeffrey Huo