Friday, May 14, 2010


At Sunset Beach West on English Bay, at the foot of Broughton Street in the West End, nestled in unobtrusively among the trees and landscaping, is a 20 metre long steel and concrete memorial to those who have died of AIDS. It's adjacent to the seawall, not far from where I took this photo and this photo. I've bicycled past it dozens of times. Today I noticed these flowers lovingly placed by someone's name, and I had to stop and photograph them.

The structure is made up of 20 steel panels joined together, with names of individuals who lost their lives to AIDS cut into the metal. Across the top of the panels are the following words from the poem To W.P. by George Santayana:

With you a part of me hath passed away;
For in the peopled forest of my mind
A tree made leafless by this wintry wind
Shall never don again its green array.
Chapel and fireside, country road and bay,
Have something of their friendliness resigned;
Another, if I would, I could not find,
And I am grown much older in a day.
But yet I treasure in my memory
Your gift of charity, your mellow ease,
And the dear honour of your amity;
For these once mine, my life is rich with these.
And I scarce know which part may greater be,--
What I keep of you, or you rob of me.

 The last panel has on its bottom left, a quote from Dr. Peter, a well-known Vancouver physician and AIDS activist who himself succumbed to the disease in 1992. It says simply, "But the energy that is me will not be lost."

Post title from this song by Explosions in the Sky.

1 comment:

  1. I like the photo and the text of the post very much. Somehow the Google reader showed me only the one third of the text. Good that I decided to comment and then see this beautiful poem.
    My yoga guru says that there is nothing around and inside us except for energy.