Tag: sadness

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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.

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yes, please

Something to move and comfort us today, a poem nourishing and everyday-special as homemade soup. Naomi Shihab Nye’s ‘Kindness’ actually mentions soup, but her poem is not the ‘weakened broth’ to which it refers. No, this is a complete meal. It’s tender and wise and lives up to its name. You can read it here or hear the poet read it here.

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handrails and lifelines and emergency lanterns

In an article in The Times in 2016 Libby Purves wrote of how ‘[p]eople have been through everything before us and some, by great grace, have recorded it with undying power. English-speakers are particularly lucky,’ she continued, ‘since some of the very best have done this in our fabulously hybrid, magpie language… [Poets] have crafted handrails and lifelines and emergency lanterns. They reassure us that others walked this hard trail and lived to express it’.

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