Another Loss to Stop For

 

Another Loss to Stop For

 

Against such cold and mercurial mornings,
watch the wind whirl one leaf
across the landscape,
then, in a breath, let it go.
The color in the opaque sky
seems almost not to exist.

Put on a wool sweater.
Wander in the leaves,
underneath healthy elms.
Hold your child in your arms.

After the dishes are washed,
a kiss still warm at your neck,
put down your pen. Turn out the light.

I know how difficult it is,
always balancing and weighing,
it takes years and many transformations;
and always another loss to stop for,
to send you backwards.

Why do you worry so,
when none of us is spared?

 

Jill Bialosky

 

I wasn’t planning on resuming this blog until at least May, but with the crashing of coronavirus into all of our lives I felt the need to reach out and find an ‘answer’ to the situation in poetry, as Robert Pinsky puts it in Poetry and the World, not to make it go away, but in keeping with the spirit of all poetry, as an act of resistance and re-assertion of the human flame.

I came across this lovely slow lyric by Jill Bialosky in Late January. It was on a page of a book about the notion of ‘sabbath’ that my brother was reading and had left lying around. The book’s central premise, that we regularly need to pull away from the world of work and actively withdraw into the world of contemplation and silence  appealed to me on several levels, not least because I have really benefited from not blogging since the turn of the year. For a variety of reasons I finished last year in a state of great tiredness, fatigue almost. I am not pretending that this has gone away, but I have been able to recharge my batteries via an array of tiny practices largely gleaned from the advice of others.

I have switched my phone to grayscale. I have taken all email off my phone. Game-changers. If I go for a walk I leave the phone at home. I leave the phone in one place, just off the hallway, which means that if I want to check messages I need to go downstairs to check it. I have taken off all notifications of messages, which means I only look at them when I actively visit various messaging apps, which in turn means I only look at them about twice a day. I don’t really feel that I have missed very much.

Instead I have been reading, and writing. (I may talk about these at another time, at greater length.) And listening to music, mostly Max Richter and slightly more than the legal amount of Hammock (see below). I am working on introducing other sabbaths and other replacement activities. (As and when they happen, I will let you know.)

For now, let us breathe in (we should all do this regularly a drama teacher once told me, or we will die) the spirit of this poem of letting go. Of comforting the child (or what represents child) of whatever is vulnerable or hurting in our lives. God knows, there are losses. And there will be more to come. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other. See you in the silence.

 

31 Comments

  1. That is so weird! I was just thinking this morning how lovely it would be if you were to start blogging again – in fact I was going to comment on Facebook about it, in case anyone there knew you well enough to be able to ask for me – and then here you are! So wonderful to have you back – THANK YOU!! At the moment I am finding it really hard to write poems – or do anything creative, in fact, but reading poetry is helping. I’m writing a journal for the time being and hope the poems will come back soon. I am making Sundays ‘no news day’ – no social media, no MSM – just the peace of our garden. Take care, Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Maggie
      I really appreciate you saying to and taking the time. I can understand that you find it hard to concentrate on poems. I have found the same with reading poetry to be honest, with a very few exceptions. Keep with your journal and see what emerges. I am sure something will come back when it needs to. With very best wishes and thanks
      Anthony

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  2. How lovely to have you back again Anthony! Such a comforting blog post. I was just thinking of the notion of The Sabbath and how important it used to be in the Highlands of Scotland and how, although not religious, I still like my Sundays to be ‘sacred’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Connie
      So good to hear from you.
      I have not really got the idea of what sabbath is about until recently, I will admit. Maybe it is because I am getting older…but I do think we need to take time off from the usual way of doing things…With very best as ever and thanks again for your support
      Anthony

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    1. Hi Hermione! So good to hear from you. I love this piece so much. I have it on repeat on Spotify. I had not seen this dance piece and really love it. Have been reading lots of Ali Smith this year and thinking of you x Ant

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  3. Glad to have you back! Good timing! You were missed. I think the whole world is having a very necessary sabbath reset. Mother Earth telling her children she needs a much needed breather because they didn’t listen. We are now at the beginning of the consequences. The lyric above fitted the cool autumn morning sunrise. A sky filled with the most beautiful fruity colours – strawberry, lemon, lime, peach and mango. It was a joy to see. Thank you for popping back Anthony.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So while you were away, I’ve figured out how to post a comment using an old Uni assignment blog! Thank you for the lyric above. It so suited this morning – the first chilly one of autumn – with a beautiful sunrise full of fruity colours, strawberry, peach, lemon, lime and raspberry! I feel Mother Earth has pressed a reset button because we weren’t listening to her about climate change. Now we are being given plenty of time to think and change our ways. Thank you for the music too. It was lovely to listen to.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Anthony
    thank you so much for this beautiful poem. You found the perfect tone for these uncertain times. Good to see you back again but make sure you look after yourself and don’t get too tired by answering everybody! All the best, Ali

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I do wish you all the depth of reflection that comes from taking a step back from the whirling and whizzing of information in these days. At the same time, it’s good to sit quietly and read a poem together with you. Thank you for that gift.

    Liked by 1 person

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