too much reality

Mar 10, 2022 poetry appreciation

There’s a lot of reality to deal with at the moment. As ever, I’m helped by poetry—and by sharing it; and by the conversations it stimulates. For some reason this poem in particular has been calling me over the last few days. Perhaps ‘The Gate‘ by Marie Howe might be helpful for you too. Let me know.

‘The Gate’ doesn’t need much unpacking. It’s sharp and vivid and the product of painful experience. It’s a poem of grief and love and quiet wisdom. It reflects how much it can take, sometimes, to get us ‘to finally enter the world’, and how hard it can be to stay there. The poem puts me in mind of what XJ Kennedy called ‘the incredible joy of coffee’ in ‘September 12, 2001‘, another poem which celebrates the awe-ful, beautiful gift of being alive. Coffee, ‘cheese and mustard sandwiches’, ‘cold/ and running water’. People we love.

How lucky we are. How precarious good fortune can be.

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