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Sonnet II, from "To W.P." -- George Santayana

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.
-- George Santayana
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

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