Monday, November 28, 2011

In Memory of Mark Edw. West

By Susan Esther Barnes

Our dear friend, Mark West, died on Sunday evening, after a long and valiant battle with cancer. His mother asked us to post memories of him on Facebook, and below is what I wrote:

“When I think about Mark, what always springs to mind is movement. Whether it was him always opening a door behind us when we were playing Dungeons and Dragons, or the way his whole body moved when he told stories or laughed - not just his face was animated, but his whole torso, plus his arms and legs - it was always about movement. He was like a meteor, a shooting star, on the move, full of brilliant light, and then gone way too soon.”

In his honor, below is Edna St. Vincent Millay’s 1928 poem, “Dirge with Music.”

I am not resigned to the shutting away of
loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:

Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, — but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look,
the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses.
Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know.
But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than
all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

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