My father (z'l) was a writer, an artist, and a lover of British poetry. He could recite, at will, any number of really obscure stanzas. We used to play a game: Name That Poem. I never won. No matter what line I started, he finished. I once played the scene from FINDING FORRESTER where Jamal finishes whatever quote Professor Crawford begins. When he stopped laughing, he asked, "Was someone hanging around your room in Bellmore?" Only he was Jamal and I was Crawford. Not that I minded much; my job was to find really obscure stuff and stump him...which rarely happened.
When he was slowly sliding away from us, I spent a fair amount of time at his bedside reading Tehillim (The Book of Psalms) and poems in his most precious book: An Anthology of English Literature. In the corner of the interior cover, written with a fountain pen (you can tell) in the teeny, tiny precise penmanship that never changed in all those years, was the following
Sidney B. Schwaidelson338 Starr St.B’klyn
In the lower left corner of the flyleaf was the following written some 10 months later:
whatever the cause! 'Tis lost 'tis o'er
What matters reason's queries then?
A dream has gone - and is no more:
'Tis not to cry, to hope - 'tis done.
I put the book down, walked Mom down the hall to the dining room, and returned to Dad's bedside, just in time to watch his last breath leave his body. I knew he had gone to join the others at Aunt Ruthie's, and I knew he would tell Grandma I read him poetry. I was okay with that.