In the middle of a feverish round of Covid this poem dropped into my inbox (I guess it would be on the 4th July, now I come to think about it): ‘Dependence Day‘ by John Daniel. Struggling as I was with the necessary isolation of Testing Positive, I found the poem really hit home. See how you like it.Read More
I know I said I’d only be posting over at what the afternoon knows for the next wee while, but this poem landed in my inbox this week and I loved it so much I couldn’t not pass it on. Check out Kathy Jetnil Kijiner’s ‘Seawall soliloquy number two‘. It needs no gloss from me.
I guess it’s not surprising that this poem appeals to me so much, living as I am in a new place with no contacts. The poem’s been sitting on my desktop for weeks, waiting for when the internet was plumbed in and the stars aligned and I was ready to think about writing. So here it is: ‘The Aunty Poem‘ by Mohja Kahf.Read More
Well, I can recommend you don’t do a google search for a poem about moving house. There’s a awful lot from the Verse For A Greetings Card/emesis school out there. However, I did want to give notice that the column will be on leave for a few weeks while I find the computer, get the interweb connected and do all the other stuff that you do when you move home. And I couldn’t inflict Larkin’s ‘Home is so sad‘ on you, micro masterpiece though it is. So I persisted in my search, and offer you a spot of Billy Collins which made me laugh. Have a go at ‘Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House‘. Let’s hope that this doesn’t foretell the state of things with my new neighbours…
Look forward to being back with you soon.
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.Read More
I realise I may be pushing it, offering you a poem containing reference to ‘god’ two weeks in a row. For me, though, both last week’s poem and this week’s can work simply in humanistic terms, even if they speak differently to those with a faith in god (whatever she may look like). Where last week’s poem spoke of the power of appreciation and gratitude, this week’s is about acceptance; and I hope that even if you’re triggered by the word god you’ll hang in there long enough to read Kaylin Haught’s ‘God says Yes to Me‘.Read More
Needless to recount again my extreme enthusiasm for Tennyson’s In Memoriam AHH. For today’s “poem that helps” I offer you ‘Be near me when my light is low’, poem 50 out of In Mem‘s 131-poem length. It’s in the public domain, so the text is below; but if you want a laugh, you can listen to a computer read it here. It’s hilarious. For what it should sound like, try this one.Read More
I guess what makes a poem “helpful” is going to vary depending on what sort of help you need on any given day. This week’s poem helps me in a lot of ways, not least its opening reminder that ‘Reason is a fine thing, but… there are other ways/ to live’. “Sense” is not always head sense. What else do you find in Annie Lighthart’s ‘The Verge‘? (Garrison will read it for you at around the 19th line, the tall one after the lowest one, on the audiotrack.)Read More
Lots of us find this time of year difficult at the best of times and, as we have noted before, these are not the best of times. So for the next while I want to share some poems which I find helpful. I would also be delighted to hear from you about poems which support you to carry on. (Drop me an email or comment below and we can have your poem in the column sometime soon.) But for today I want to share Ellen Bass’s ‘The Thing Is‘ which I find breathtakingly honest and stark and beautiful, and which definitely inspires me.Read More