Friday, November 27, 2020

The pink dawn

When Mary was dying I googled 'poems to read to the dying' and alighted on the blog of the poet Anthony Wilson - Lifesaving Poems. This was not what I'd been searching for, but it turned out to be a personal solace.

This week at Hepworth Towers we received some sad news about a friend, and the shock sent me whirling up and down and sideways all the week. I found my copy of the published collection Lifesaving Poems  which came out four months after Mary died, and which sat on my bedside table all that year. After dipping into that, I opened Staying Alive.

I don't know why I find poetry comforting when all else fails, but I do.

Here's one that I posted last November, but which seems particularly pertinent to our national news right now. I have permission from the publisher to to share it with you.

A Portable Paradise 

And if I speak of Paradise,
then I’m speaking of my grandmother
who told me to carry it always
on my person, concealed, so
no one else would know but me.
That way they can’t steal it, she’d say.
And if life puts you under pressure,
trace its ridges in your pocket,
smell its piney scent on your handkerchief,
hum its anthem under your breath.
And if your stresses are sustained and daily,
get yourself to an empty room – be it hotel,
hostel or hovel – find a lamp
and empty your paradise onto a desk:
your white sands, green hills and fresh fish.
Shine the lamp on it like the fresh hope
of morning, and keep staring at it till you sleep.

Roger Robinson

© Roger Robinson, from A Portable Paradise, 2019. Used by permission of Peepal Tree Press.


This is the dawn light on the edge behind our house this morning:

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