SONIA

Francisco Icasiano

She folded her hands upon her bosom, this four-year old child of mine and
as her breathing became more labored, prayed as I led her: "Jesus. You love little
children: help me!" that was at midnight on November 28, 1932. A few minutes
later, she had joined the angels and left us in anguish that numbered all feelings.
But have since risen from the depths to which Sonia's death crushed me, and
phoenix- like have left my dead ashes, to sing the charms that the death of one so
dearly loved can bring to the soul. I have known the darkness of occasional
brooding, but I would dwell most upon a struggle with sorrow that has
sweetened my nature, which otherwise, would have been stultified by the pain.
Pain, I have realized, is beautiful only when one can rise from its
depressing power. I have known the people who have become bitter and cynical
under the lash of sorrow, and I have known some who have never recovered from
anguish. My experience is important only so far as it may help others towards
growth: it is worthless to me if it implies vanity.
Sonia is, to me, as fairy tale told or a lyric half lost in fancy, a delicate
melody unsung. Had she grown into full womanhood, she might have become an
intellectual, for she was deliberate and clear- cut in her language, precise in her
reasoning, and keen in sensing nuances which matured minds about her could
not appreciate; then, I should have been forever lost, the glamour of its poetry
never felt even in vague suggestions, and the delicate melodies never perceived.
As a friend suggested to me when grief was most oppressive: "you shall always
remember her as a child. "How beautiful I felt it was! What a beautiful things a
man perceives in such sorrow! What keen and living poetry! For nothing but
poetry could give such feeling. In such a moment reason would have destroyed me
with consummate triumph; for if I had tried to explain why God had snatched
away from me the things I loved best in life, I would have allowed reason to rob
me of reason. But poetry in all her magnificence came sailing behind the somber
shape of sorrow to show me the way to a more beautiful, more full and more
nearly perfect life. Sonia shall always live in my memory as a child who wonders
why the star shine in the sky and the rain drops from heaven and the grass on the
wayside: as a child who find all things pure and true in her innocent eyes. I shall
look in those eyes and see so much confidence and faith when I feel that I am
losing my own faith and confidence I shall draw from my memory of her a child's
enthusiasm for life, when my heart is heavy and my eyes dim with age. This is my
ideal, to see the whole life with a mind mellowed by age, though a heart forever
young - wise and happy! Days before she died, I had a premonition to her
death; but I dismiss it, consoling myself with the thought that if such a thing
should come to pass -heaven forbid - I should perhaps be rewarded for becoming
a true, sincere and humble artist through the suffering that would come from such
a shocking experience. For the first time in my life, the idea of becoming an artist
suddenly lost in its chance. I would rather remain obscure than lost its
greatest masterpiece, wrought in my own blood, and polish by the greatest love
that I was capable of giving. Like the reeds in the river, I would rather keep my
leaves and flowers that be cut up by the great Pan into the flute. The melody of
the wind was enough for me as I bent rhythmically with its blowing. I would
refuse the greater melody of art that exacts so much.
But when her hour came the blade of death cleave my heart, I felt as if I,
too, had died and a new soul had emerged, more
beautiful, because cleanse of all bitterness. How true it is
as poor Oscar Wilde wrote that, the "Pleasure is for the
beautiful body, but pain for the beautiful soul." But
what costly knowledge this first. Experience has indeed taken away more than it
has been able to give. It has suddenly occurred to me that the real artist is
measured by his ability to utilize misfortune in recreating the soul. I say,
"recreating" Because art is the recreation of life an experience, into that which
sooths and ennobles the soul; if a man with any artistic pretensions allows sorrow
to destroy him, he is a mere artisan, incapable of producing anything of worth;
for, the first thing an artist must recreate, before true art can be realized, is his
own soul. Moreover, sorrow must crush, ere it can reshape the man in s mold of
glory. The reed must have cut to pieces, and holes bored through it, before it can
have produced such magic melodies as their sound.
The sun on hill forgot to die.
And the lilies revived, and the dragonfly
Came back to dream on the river.
Before an artist can sweetly harrow the hearts of others, his own must
have died. There is a story told of an ambitious singer who thought he would
sing for the grand operas. He sang before a celebrated maestro who, in the
middle of an aria from Rigoletto, thundered out, "Enough! Enough! This will
never do. Your heart has been broken!"
In De profounds, Oscar Wilde, made the following analysis of sorrow in its
beginning upon art:
Truth in the art is the unity of a thing with itself; the outward rendered
expressive of the inward; the soul made incarnate; the body instinct with spirit.
For this reason there is no truth comparable with sorrow. There are times when
sorrow seems to me to be the only truth. Other things may be illusions of the
eye or the appetite, made to blind the one and cloy (overdo) the other, but out
of sorrow have the worlds been built, and the birth of a child or a star there is
pain."
Indeed, was it not Zeus' head split open an axe that Athena might spring full
grown from it?
Besides sorrow's power of giving birth to art, there is another blessing,
which must come, with all art and all of suffering? It is a way of thinking that
solidifies and satisfies, becomes profound and permanent; a real philosophy of life
and is therefore, a creation, an art itself, and not the mere adoption of some
powerful, second-hand outlook that proves worthless when put to the test.
Feeling that the lower forms of logic would be useless to me at the time of
my deepest sorrow, 1 approached life by the highest route, through "the deepest
voice of human experience" religion.
Early the next morning after Sonia's death, Gods hand rested upon my
shoulders. On previous occasions, the more suggestion of her death would drive me
into imagining a sudden flight to some distant land. I knew not where, for an
obscure place where I might forget to die. But that morning, I felt strangely
calm. Not the remote shades of thought about running away from my sorrowing
family

Goethe's line:
Who never ate his bread in sorrow? Who
never spent the midnight hours-Weeping
and waiting for the morrow He knows you
not, ye heavenly Powers.

Lived inky memory
I had eaten my bread in sorrow
I had passed the right weeping and watching for a
More bitter dawn
And felt the touch of the Spirit
Upon my being

I went to the scorch of St. Ignatius in Intramuros where, humbled by
sorrow, I sought the Lords forgiveness of the confessional. I offered up my
Sonia, and also my two other boys, and even my own life. If He desired to take
back his own. The pagan protest that was surging in my boson, I painfully
quelled.
It is different to give up the things we hold dear on earth. But when Sonia,
whom I loved best, had been given up, to what could be resigned, I felt that
grown generous to magnanimity. I had ceased to find difficulty in giving up my
pride, and I was humbled; I had ceased to fear for my future, and I was no
longer in vain _ I gave up all notions of fame, and became myself. But I was
better, I was born to greater realization of truth, a fuller feeling of freshness - my
new philosophy doubtless has given me a new sense of values. The things I had
held dear, in common with other people. I discovered to be a glittering tinsel
and hollowness. We find ourselves only after we have lost everything we hold dear
in our temporal habitation; we find our soul only after we have divested
ourselves of all the flummery of the flesh. For indeed, how can we find our souls
when we are wrapped up in matter, so that we cannot give a step, or put our
hand, or lift up our eyes, but material things are all about us, following us even
to put up our dreams. People say something pleasant to us, and thought it be
but "hot air", it is enough to puff us up. We would feed our souls upon vanity, and
know not it is Barmecides feast. Could we strip ourselves of pride and vanity,
things would fall back into their proper places, and we should see the hidden
harmony of creation, and piece through the things that alone are seen of the world
to those that are unseen, setting no store be these fascinating shadows, ever
before the time when they crumble away and vanish into naught, as worldly things
must, sooner or later.
The Worldly Hope men set their hearts upon
Turn ashes - or it prospers; and anon
Like snow upon the Desert's dusky Face,
Lightning a little hour or two - was gone.

The climax in this grand ascend of sorrow is the perfection of Reality
when in moments of devastating grief, my being seemed consumed. I tried to
deceive myself by pretending that it was all a dream and would wake up to find
Sonia's death a mere fancy, the force illusion would always vanish and a newer,
more vivid, more convincing, more permanent if painful realization would reveal to
me that the whole of human experience this side of eternity is nothing but a
dream which with death, finally comes to an awakening to the only reality
intended by the Maker of Life. I am convinced that life in this temporary
habitation is a vague and miserable dream, a nightmare in which the dreamer is
driven from one path to another, now frightened by life, now terrified by the
thought of death; until one realizes that there is this nightmare a symbol of
Reality that is coming with the dawn and the awakening.
This realization of the reality must make a real artist of a man. Broken with
pain, the soul dies to be reborn, stronger and more beautiful; enriched and
ennobled by sorrow, the artist in the man rises above himself; shorn of all
fineries and pettiness - all none - essential, in a word, the artist flows naturally
towards the infinite whither all artistic effort must be directed.
Thither must I direct my art ... Art to me had ceased to be artful and
artificial. It had become the natural life of the soul; it is the voice of my soul
crying out to heaven for a vision of Sonia, pleading for a final communication
with her. I shall remove everything about me. When the last word is written and
my hands drop limp and lifeless by my side. I hope to hear the gentle pattern of a
little feet and the tender touch of a little hands around my neck...SONIA.

There is no specific biography written about Francisco Icasiano, nor did he
write much about himself in an autobiographical way. I cannot, therefore,
point you towards a particular book or biography to read that will give a
great deal of information on the life of Francisco Icasiano. As this is the case,
there is little that we know about Francisco Icasiano and his life in general,
although there is some information about his career.
 The life of Francisco Icasiano

Francisco Icasiano was a Filipino author who also went by the more extended
name of Francisco "Mang Kiko" Bayan Icasiano. Amongst his first literary
works were a series of essays written in the Sunday Tribune Magazine. The
essays, written in English, were entitled 'From my Nipa Hut' and were
satirical or comedic in style and tried to reflect the culture of
the common Tao people in the Philippines. The essays seemed to look at the
culture in the Philippines and, whilst comedic in style, presented opinion on
what life was like in the Philippines. These essays have subsequently been
collated into a book entitled 'Horizons from my Nipa Hut'. The book's most
famous essay is called 'The World in a Train' and can be read on many
websites including the following link http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?
uid=114315955252379&topic=229 which can read whether you have a
Facebook account or not. Icasiano's literary works did not stop with the
essays as he also wrote a series of short stories, including the title Sonia.

 What else do we know about Icasiano's life?

Other information surrounding the Filipino author is scarce but we do know
the names of his parents, Francisca Bayan and Bonifacio Ycasiano and we
know that he was one of seven siblings born into the family.

Sonia is a sort story describing the author's attempts to cope with the
sudden and early death of his favorite daughter and his wish to
somehow channel his grief and pain to improve his creativity and art.

He begins by claiming pain can be beautiful as long as the individual is able
to rise above the depression and hopes his tale will help others use their pain
in order to grow in character.

He then reminisces about his daughter, Sonia, recognizing all the possible
things she could have accomplished if she had been given the chance.
Though he is clearly feeling the sharp ache of her loss, he finds comfort in
advice offered to him in the idea that he will always remember as a child.
Rather than become bitter and angry as some higher power for 'stealing' his
daughter away too early, he remembers everything that he loved about her.
He attempts to use her innocence and confidence at times when he is feeling
especially alone and weak.

 Part two.

The tone of the story then changes and focus on Sonia is slightly lost. He
speaks of a form of 'premonition' that he had days before her death, in which
he saw her die. Before he dismissed it, he pondered the effects it would have
upon his 'art' as pain always intensifies creativity. However, he reasoned that
he would never be willing to pay such a price just to be a great artist and
nothing could ever be worth that kind of suffering.

After her death he speaks of his suicidal feelings yet his prediction was right
in the fact that his work did improve as he attempted to release his pain
onto paper.

 Part three.

Icasiano becomes rather philosophical upon the conclusion of the story as he
ponders the meaning of our reality. He presents a theory that our current
world is but a dream and our true lives begin on the other side of infinity
i.e. Life after death. He concludes by saying this realization is what will make
him a truly brilliant artist and he longs for a time when he might be reunited
with Sonia once more.

Sonia is a short story describing the author's attempts to cope with the
sudden and early death of his 4 years old favorite daughter and his wish to
somehow channel his grief and pain to improve his creativity and art.
He begins by claiming pain can be beautiful as long as the individual is able
to rise above the depression and hopes his tale will help others use their pain
in order to grow in character.
We should accept the fact that everything in this world is just temporary.
Time will come that all of us will go back and spend our afterlife with our
God
We should learn to let them go and move on because there are still people
who needs us and depend on us.

He went to the scorch of St. Ignatius in Intramuros where, humbled by
sorrow, he sought the Lords forgiveness of the confessional. he offered up his
Sonia, and also his two other boys, and even his own life. He felt that grown
generous to magnanimity.
Icasiano becomes rather philosophical upon the conclusion of the story as he
ponders the meaning of our reality. He presents a theory that our current
world is but a dream and our true lives begin on the other side of infinity i.e,
life after death. He concludes by saying this realization is what will make him
truly brilliant artist and he longs for a time when he might be reunited with
Sonia once more.