Sandra Palmer writes: A poem a day on Facebook for five days – it sounded a little like an apple a day – something sweet and nutritious -and so I accepted the invitation to receive the baton from Fr Ian. (For his choice click here)
My first poem Trees by Philip Larkin was read at the funeral of a friend’s husband who had taken his own life during a bout of severe depression. In the circumstances I had expected the occassion to be dark and gloomy but instead it was filled with light and with the possibility of the renewal that the poem expresses – a celebration of Dave’s life despite the shadow of pain. On the motorway drive down friends and I had discussed another wonderful poem An Angel in Blythburgh Church by Peter Porter whose wife had also committed suicide. Because of the subject matter and the length, I didn’t include it as one of my five poems but, as its final lines helped me gain a glimpse of understanding, I include it now.
I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
Something I often forget and have to remind myself of daily.
In contrast Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley learnt at school, loved at school, tells us about that which is transient though I only see a link between the two poems as I write now.
I love my fourth poem, Prayer by Carol Ann Duffy, for its sound and the sense of the rhythm of day and date as much as for its meaning. It resonates with my experience of prayer.
My final poem Friendship by Elizabeth Jennings leapt off the page at me in the way it celebrates one of life’s great gifts. It felt a fitting poem with which to finish my set of poems before I passed on the baton.
And now move on to another person’s choice of five poems as they take up the baton.