Tag: grief

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

the gifts of loss

This week—today, in fact, if you read this on a Friday—I’m having to do a big bit of letting go. The house where my Mum and Dad lived is now sold, and I’m up in Scotland, emptying the last bits of furniture, locking the door and walking away for the last time. Like much that has happened in my life (let alone in the wider world) over the last couple of years, this feels too big and disturbing to understand at once. I feel as though I can’t think and feel all the “necessary” things, and get in a sort of panic. Just the right time, then, to read a poem about letting go and feel it find me in the way that poetry (like music) can. Here is ‘Moving Forward‘ by Rilke.

Read More

reasons to write part 1

Louise Glück, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for literature, has said: “Writing is a kind of revenge against circumstance… : bad luck, loss, pain. If you make something out of it, then you’ve no longer been bested by these events.” That makes so much sense to me. Sometimes writing does feel alchemical (in intent, anyway!), and reading Gluck’s comment inspires me to share one of the poems where I was attempting to turn base metal into gold…

Read More

if only…

Apologies for radio silence over the last 2 weeks; I’ve not been well. I’m glad to be back, not least because this week’s poem is a relatively new discovery (to me) and I’ve been looking forward to sharing it. Some part of me deeply recognises the states and thoughts described in Jennifer Maier’s ‘Post Hoc‘ by Jennifer Maier. How about you?

Read More

not making lemonade, but…

I took down the “events” page from this site in about May last year. Reading and other engagements were cancelled, of course, and though I’ve taken part in some online launches and Youtube events, it’s not the same as meeting in person. Sharing a room and a poem with others has a real magic in it, and forgoing that has been one of the many losses of The Current Situation; tiny, perhaps, but real. As Cilla might have said, there’s a lorra lorra lemons about at the moment.

Read More

the unbroken

A couple of years ago the 42 group began a December tradition of making a poetry advent calendar. We choose a topic and each contribute a few of our favourite poems which, with a great deal of sherry and swearing, I grapple into a vaguely consistent format, allotting a poem to each day of advent and emailing out the resulting document. This year our topic has been healing/reassurance/comfort, that sort of thing. The Christmas Eve poem a group member contributed was new to me—so beautiful and so apt for these strange times that, with apologies to group members who are seeing the same poem twice in one day, I share it here too. Delight in ‘The Unbroken‘ by Rashani.

Read More

peine forte et dure

Apparently that’s the name for the torture whereby a board was placed on top of you and weights gradually added until the life was crushed out of you (or you made a plea in relation to the crime of which you were accused). “Pressing”, as it was also known, comes to my mind every now and then these days when I turn on the news or check out The Grauniad website and hear what the latest Thing is. I have a distinctly physical sense of another weight being added, another piece of bad news and difficulty on top of what already felt like a crushing load. Thus half an hour ago I was to be seen sitting with my forehead on the desk trying to summon the energy and will to sit upright. I’m sure this is a common experience. What works, apart from coffee, chocolate or a walk in the wood, is acknowledging to myself what I’m actually feeling; and so I give you ‘Talking to Grief‘ by Denise Levertov.

Read More
error: Content is protected !!