Wednesday, February 09, 2022

The cure

I know that my posts have become infrequent, and I'm sorry.

I live such a quiet life these days which often begin like this:

and like this:

also by Mary Oliver

And I have spent too much time over the last two weeks looking online to find out if he has been booted out of office yet. But then it hit me that if Rishi Sunak took over, there would still be a million destitute families in the UK. So what is there to look forward to except a thunderbolt or a miracle?

And this is the reason why I don't post. I am appalled and ashamed of what this government has done to this country and I despair that there is nothing I can do about it. And I am sure that many of you feel the same and probably don't want to read about me wailing and gnashing my teeth.

Of all the things on my taking-myself-in-hand-agenda, the most helpful are the cold showers* and the deep breathing, and the reading of poetry to reset my mind after reading the news before I get out of bed. 

Here's an example:

Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

Raymond Carver

and another:


And some time make the time to drive out west

Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,

In September or October, when the wind

And the light are working off each other

So that the ocean on one side is wild

With foam and glitter, and inland among stones

The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit

By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,

Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,

Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads

Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.

Useless to think you’ll park and capture it

More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,

A hurry through which known and strange things pass

As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways

And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

Seamus Heaney

The brother who likes my blog said to me the other day that he sometimes doesn't read the poems I put on the blog. I was dismayed, not that he doesn't like them, but that he doesn't even bother to read them.

I didn't like the poetry they taught us at school, because it all seemed so old and fusty and irrelevant. But now I have heaps of modern poetry books and as well as entertaining, challenging and stimulating me, they comfort me.

If you've never got into poetry, I recommend the anthology Staying Alive as a place to start. The two poems above are in this anthology.

There are, thankfully, other ways my day can start:

I hope your day is going well. 


rowantree said...

I, for one, read the poems you include with pleasure but some folks just automatically back off from poetry. I have already passed on the Seamus Heaney poem to a literary chum. I too prefer modern poetry, but revisiting Coleridge, Keats and Shelley recently has proved worthwhile.

I am with you on the hopelessness of life under this dreadful P.M. Earlier 9am, I was listening to the excellent Radio 4 programme 'More or less' which featured B.J. lying to Parliament about a rise in employment and fall in crime. He has been notified by official statisticians of the errors but continues to wheel them out. The Speaker has commented but has no sanctions apparently. As you say, when Johnson goes how will the mess be sorted?

The sun has come out just now and cheered up my day somewhat!

Sue Hepworth said...

How nice to hear from someone whose name I don’t know!

Thank you for your encouraging comments, Rowantree.

Enjoy the sunshine. May it last all day.

rowantree said...

Always conscious of security when I signed up to comment on various blogs I used different usernames: my name is actually Lois. I look at your blog often and have posted comments before.

Sue Hepworth said...


marmee said...

Hi! And yes I too love reading the poems you post! I tend to read the same poems over and over , because they have become like touchstones and so it is an education to read and discover those I find on your blog.

marmee said...

Meant to say : What a lovely aka rowantree is!

Lina said...

Sue, I love reading your blog posts however infrequent. They are helpful and reassuring me that I'm not alone in how I'm feeling and reacting to how things are and the hopelessness that BJ and his cronies engender. I also read the poems for the sheer pleasure they bring.

Anonymous said...

Yet another who always reads your poetry choices. I will be sharing the Mary Oliver with my most thoughtful sister. And with my dear friend whose passion is eco spirituality as well as with another retired English literature teacher colleague. Be encouraged to share more. Delighted that you named a favourite anthology The Faber Poetry Diary is on my desk a gift from my husband who also has his own copy
My day has begun well, thanks so much Sue

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, Marmee, Lina and Ana for your comments. I’m really glad you enjoy the poems I post. With this encouragement I will carry on.