Category: poetry appreciation

moving house

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.

too much reality

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.

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bear with me…

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‘.

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remember those emergency lanterns?

The ones Libby Purves referred to when she spoke of how poetry could function? Well, for me this poem, ‘testify‘ by Eve L Ewing, is a great emergency lantern. Does it shine a light for you?

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the nadir experience

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.

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the same but different

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.)

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ways to persist

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.

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something winter-y

This week’s poem is another recent discovery and I’m not sure quite what appeals to me so much about it. But something does. See what you make of Tom Hennen’s charming ‘Sheep in the Winter Night (which Garrison will read for you at 2:38, if you so wish).

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come, poor Jackself

My therapy practice would be a lot less busy if people really knew how right it is to be self-compassionate. So many of us can pay lip service to the notion of “put on your own oxygen mask first” while not truly believing it’s “allowed” or, actually, the long-term more altruistic thing to do (in that it helps you keep in a fit state to support others). So I love this poem—a recent discovery—which expresses that sense of unease about kindness to self. Here’s James Crews’ ‘Self-Compassion‘.

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coming to America, going not so well…

And now, as the Pythons used to say, for something completely different. Yes, it’s another another arrival in America, courtesy of Tracy K Smith, a former Poet Laureate; but it’s very different from last week’s. Read ‘The United States Welcomes you‘ and shiver.

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