What does Sean O'Brien means in the poem "Leavetaking," especially about the patronne, things happening around him, and the end of the poem? This is a link the the poem:...

What does Sean O'Brien means in the poem "Leavetaking," especially about the patronne, things happening around him, and the end of the poem?

This is a link the the poem: http://www.chateauventenac.com/blog/leavetaking-a-poem-by-sean-obrien/

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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O'Brien is eulogizing Peter Porter who has passed (see the title, "Leavetaking"), but writing as if Porter were still with him. O'Brien notes the setting: a place where O'Brien have both visited on separate occasions (Chateau Ventenac). "Une pression" is beer (in French). He recalls Porter would have preferred a Minervois (red) wine. O'Brien uses the phrase,

Bad news prefers its poison cold and long...

saying that good wine should not be wasted over bad news (death), but saved until a more appropriate time, after an "acceptable" interval (space of time) of mourning has passed. O'Brien writes that the wine might be enjoyed at midnight—when everyone sleeps—in a spot where a Nazi colonel once sat, waiting...a tidbit of information that Porter would have tucked away to think on later; but gone, "there is no later..."

The author notes that everyone must die, including flute-playing psychopaths. (This may refer to the Hitler Youth, who were heavily involved in music.) But O'Brien refuses to be "reconciled" to the idea that death comes to all: though it may happen—why must it include Porter?

O'Brien describes the scene around him: the boats come into their slips. Last fall's leaves gather around them, and on the deck chairs that speak of "former merriment." Someone starts a fire, and the flames are like poetry. O'Brien stops to ask Porter if O'Brien has included enough details yet, admitting that Porter would have been quicker than he to know when such a mundane gathering would be...

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