For the past few days I've been reading the wonderful poems in Neil Astley and Pamela Robinson-Pearce's great anthology of hope Soul Food: Nourishing Poems for Starved Minds.
It is a read that is a voyage of discovery: moving, funny, profound there is real food and hope for starved souls in the 150 pages. We are so saturated and stuffed with images and music, yet here simple well-honed lines keep bringing us back to essentials. Few of the poems are long, many are very short.
I'm grateful for the many poems in translation that are included, opening up not only other languages (truth called "he" rather than "she" or "it") and cultures, but also completely different ways of structuring thoughts, poetry and hope itself.
Dr B even found one to read aloud to me last night, this by the fabulous Carol Ann Duffy, only a Radio 4 listener or a sailor would understand the final line!
Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims1 sung by a tree, a sudden gift.
Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.
Pray for us now. Grade I piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child's name as though they named their loss.
Darkness outside. Inside, the radio's prayer -
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.
There's just no accounting for happiness,
And how can you not forgive?
No, happiness is the uncle you never
It comes to the monk in his cell.
copyright Jane Kenyon
Anyway, although reading poetry might seem to resolve nothing, it does offer a structure that might be called joy or understanding, consolation or perhaps even hope. Gradually words are beginning to put me back together again, perhaps that is resolution of a kind ...