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
There’s a lot of fear, frustration and anger flying about at the moment, and this last year we’ve read many headlines and seen photos and footage we never want to have seen. Since the beginning of this strange and disturbing month one of the poems echoing in my head has been Frost’s ‘Fire and Ice‘ (click the red arrow by the title if you’d like to be read to). Does it resonate with you?Read More
Another term for cocaine, apparently; but I’m not suggesting we take things that far. It may or may not have been a white winter where you are, but in case it hasn’t, here’s Louis MacNeice’s magnificent poem on the subject to remind you of what ‘Snow‘ can do to us.Read More
There is good stuff in amongst all the strangeness at the moment, as a lot of people are noting. Some are doing so with a vim and perkiness which I find quite annoying—I rarely find Uplift uplifting—but it’s good to hear the quieter, less trumpety tales. And to notice things, too. Driving up to Scotland last week I was moved to see an oystercatcher walking across the M6 in front of me. I’m kinda glad the world is getting a rest from us.
‘The Horses‘ by Edwin Muir is one of the poems which has been echoing round my mind these last few weeks. Though it offers a post-apocalyptic vision it’s not an unmitigatedly doomy one, and I don’t offer it with a gloomy sense of prophecy. Rather, it’s because I’ve been aware of how strange and lovely I am finding the current silence, or relative silence, on my (rare and legitimate, guv’nor) sorties into the outside world. And silence is what Muir’s poem opens with. (Here are a couple of readings of it, too, one much more fruity and declamatory than the other. See what you think.)Read More