Monthly Archives: February 2009

what best friends do

“When we honestly ask which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ~ Henri Nouwen


St. Valentine’s Day Requiem

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us so it’s all about love songs. I prefer the mournful kind, full of longing and loss, unrequited devotion and depleted passion. The you’ve-ripped-my-guts-out-and-now-I’m-just-a-wretch sort of love song. (People with melancholic temperaments are so much fun. No wonder we never get invited to parties.) So when I opened this morning’s email update from NPR’s Music Notes, my first impulse, naturally, was to click on the subheading titled “So Your Tiny Black Heart is Broken“. (The writer’s apt description: “Each is carefully selected to provide a vivid soundtrack for those moments when alcohol isn’t even necessary, so drunk is the listener on his or her own misery.”) While most of the songs were unfamiliar to me, I was surprised and delighted to see one by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the soundtrack to “Once“, one of my favorite films of the decade. Now there’s an album to satisfy the sorrowful, soul-filled music lover in all of us.

I suppose everybody loves a love song, but for me the best love song is a sad love song.


“I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs, and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music.” ~ George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss

Rupert Brooke

The Soldier (1914)
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England
. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
~ Rupert Brooke