Posted by: suek2001 | August 20, 2014

No man is an island……

When I was in high school, I took a course in British Literature and oh, I loved it….Mrs. Debbie Pollard taught the 4th period class…I still recall all the great poet posters and the bright sunlight that would cast about through the one window…I fell in love with Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and William Blake..but it was John Donne’s ruminations and poetry that meant the most.

One of the last assignments we had was to watch “Dead Poets Society”. I think Mrs. Pollard was thrilled that Robin Williams had the chance to get students interested in poetry and sonnets…

One of Donne’s most famous is the No Man is an Island meditation…

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee. ”

The last line was used as a Hemingway title..if I recall correctly…

The reason I quote is that the passing of Robin Williams has touched so many for many reasons..He was stand up comic to be sure..he also was a comedic actor and a dramatic actor…Oscar winning too….all this after starting out as busboy at a restaurant owned by the Kingston Trio in early 70’s San Franciso…

He was a strong supporter of numerous charities..both well-known and private…and he was generous to his fellow stand up friends…as evidenced when he gave David Letterman a guest-shot on his big show “Mork and Mindy”…He also loved to tour with the USO and provide some relief to soldiers who were enduring the horrors of war. One of his last acts was to tape a video message of encouragement to a cancer-ravaged child.

All of this, while battling depression…and apparently, the early onset of Parkinson’s.

I never met Robin Williams..never saw his stand up live but saw him on Letterman, Leno and Carson…For my generation, those talk show appaearances were how we got to know his style..his manic style that was a one-man show of tour de force improv…

Another way we knew him was through his movie roles….his comic timing was perfect in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and also in “Jack” but he could touch our hearts through “Good Will Hunting”..”Awakenings” and “Dead Poets Society”…

One of the messages of “Dead Poets” was a rallying cry against conformity…That was pretty much Robin’s way of life onstage…He was never the same way twice..in his stand up..nor in his acting roles..He stretched his humor as far as it could go…most of the time, landing the punchlines right where he wanted and sometimes wondering where the laugh line dissapeared to…He was brave in is comedy..fierce in his delivery..and with all that bravado and being the voice of so many people in one man..it is so sad that no one heard him scream for help…

I have taken a while to write this because it is still a week later and I cannot believe he is dead…and talking about Robin Williams in the past tense is just strange..and I know others..of all generations that feel the same way…

As David Letterman put it, “We were like morning dew, Robin was the hurricane”…

..and we will never see that kind of hurricane again…
Rest in Peace O Captain. My Captain…Rest is peace…

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Responses

  1. Well done, Sue. Of the eulogies I’ve read, this one is the most personable and sentimental. God rest your soul, RW.


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