Friday, February 13, 2009

A poem for the special day

This classic sonnet was written by Arnold Schnabel during his three-month stay at the Philadelphia State Mental Hospital at Byberry.

Published initially (and until now, solely) in the sadly defunct Olney Times for February 15, 1963, and rebroadcast now thanks to the kind permission of the Arnold Schnabel Society of Philadelphia, PA.

Nihil Obstat, Bishop John J. (“Mighty Jack”) Graham, SJ.


St. Valentine’s Day, 1963

It’s St. Valentine’s Day, a day for those
who love someone special, and who hope that
person loves them as well, or at least knows
they exist; but what of him who looks at
life not even from the sidelines but from
up in the bleachers? Who has none but Mom
to exchange cards with, to buy flowers for,
what of the lonely, confirmed bachelor?
he and his sister the old maid will grin
stiffly, and stay home and watch the TV,
and try to keep their tears and their brains in
a place that no one can possibly see;
but if they don’t have a day, why worry,
they have, at last, a home, called Byberry.


(Kindly look to the right hand column of this page to find links to many other fine poems by Arnold Schnabel.)

5 comments:

kathleenmaher said...

So terribly sad, this poem! I thought Arnold's other Byberry poem was sad. It had the same loneliness and resignation. But this one rips deeper.
At least we know the Romance Gods are fast on Arnold's case.

Manny said...

Arnold is a tormented soul, as all geniuses are.

Anonymous said...

Happy Valentine's Day, Arnold.

Jennifer said...

I'm now imagining a noose in the shape of a heart...

Dan Leo said...

Jen: Arnold Schnabel, the last of the Romantic poets.