There is a maddening abundance of poetry in the world. To me, finding a poem that resonates with me feels like a pilgrimage. Once I’ve found one that I love, usually by accident, I never forget it. Reading someone’s favourite poems is a very definite way of understanding them deeply – so, I’m going to bare my soul for you on this post, and give you a few of my favourite poems (in no particular order). I’d love for you to send me yours in response!!
24 February 1821. This Grave contains all that was Mortal of a young English poet who on his Death bed, in the bitterness of his Heart, at the malicious power of his enemies, desired these words to be engraven on his tomb Stone:
Here Lies One Whose Name Was Writ in Water.
In September 2016 I was fortunate to spend a few days in The Eternal City. I was staying in a hotel built over the Capuchin Crypt, next to the church of Santa Maria. The crypt is a brutal, creepy reminder of the brevity of our lives; I felt as if the vacant eye sockets of the skulls were watching me. What you are now, we used to be. What we are now, you will be. Sometimes words aren’t enough – Camille Saint-Saëns’s Danse Macabre seems like an appropriate way to describe the experience.
I met him in a dream.
The forest floor was cushioned in moss and little white blossoms. Soft morning light illuminated a path of dew before me, paving itself as I stepped. The birds sang their reverie, gently pulling me in. I walked barefoot, relishing in the feeling of fresh, cool soil between my toes. There was no sky, no stars, no sun; above me the canopy of leaves went endlessly upwards. Light came from within the white petals of flowers as if they held the secrets of the universe inside.
As a child I collected countless things – rocks, marbles, stickers, sea glass – things that seemed so insignificant. A child can place the largest value upon the most mundane of things, something that becomes increasingly hard to grasp as one slips away into adulthood. As an outsider, banished from the imaginative wonderland of childhood, it’s hard to remember the feeling of losing your favourite pebble or toy car, despite their abundance. Why this thing? They’re asked. But does there have to be a reason?
Time passes. Our little trinkets and treasures get lost, stuck behind the couch, under the bed, the inside of the vacuum cleaner. As we begin to grow older, we develop a new sense of what it means to own things. I remember watching TV as a 7-year-old, and being fired with an artillery of obscenely colourful advertisements telling me not only that I wanted it but that I needed it. Some things become exclusive, others useless, some even shameful. Things become a disguise for money and a benchmark for comparison.