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Monday, January 14, 2013

Sometimes - Sheenagh Pugh

Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse.  Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss, sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen:  may it happen for you.



The earnest final line of the poem, a sincere wish that you, the reader, have success, is very disarming and touching.  The poem as a whole is a lovely reminder that sometimes indeed, the world is not so bad.  For as awful as things seem, as corrupt as our politicians, as bleak as prospects for peace in the world, as beleaguered as our environment becomes, sometimes, just sometimes, things go well.  Wishing that goodness on another is noble and wonderful, and something we could all use more of.

It is worth noting, though, that usually, things don't go.  Often, the frost kills the crop, we succumb to our faults, we struggle to improve and fail.  People rarely step back from war, we ignore the poor at a rate that should make us all ashamed.  Still, sometimes, you know?  Small hopes.

7 comments:

  1. FYI the author Sheenagh Pugh hates this. She scribbled it quickly on a get well card for a friend withdrawing from cocaine and never meant for it to be published. She says that if she'd known it would be she'd have tried harder. The word "sorrow" is a typo. She meant to write "snow" (for cocaine). Funny that the error works so well.

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    1. I read on the author's website that she dislikes this poem, and wishes it wasn't her best known work, and so widely shared. I didn't know that about the error! It does work quite well.

      I'm unsympathetic to her wish for it to not be widely shared, though. Once an artist releases a work, it is no longer theirs. It belongs to those who read it, and this poem has proven itself to resonate broadly with many people, and to bring comfort to many who suffer.

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  2. I use this poem as a sort of amulet or talisman when things are going badly or I am troubled. I love the measured comfort in the first line, with its gentle qualifications (sometimes.. after all). I have also sent it to many friends who are going through bad times. I wish she had written snow - I think it would have been the better word (melting a field of sorrow?). I agree that the author cannot own our reaction to their work, and once it leaves their hands, it becomes what any reader makes of it. Conan Doyle thought his best work was his historical novels, after all! Looking forward to reading more of your choices with commentary, Chris.

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  3. This is not exactly an undeliberate poem. It is wonderful, and from an honest, authentic place, that wouldnt have been reached if the poet had tried harder. [in my humble opinion.

    Eleanor

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  5. I love the poem, and thank the caring, thoughtful friend who sent it to me. I am struggling at the moment and actually the final line of the poem, with its typo, is a beautiful reminder that things can change.

    Here is my contribution to Dark Times, not a poem, but an expression of my feelings that I hope will help others.

    Dark times aren't when you feel a bit down, or "need to curl up on the couch with a bag of chips and watch a movie". Dark times aren't where your team (football, rugby, soccer, baseball) loses a match or where your loved one argues with you.

    Dark times are where you can't function, can't get out of bed; not because you don't want to but because your physical and mental body just can't do it. Dark times are where your personality and intellect are shrouded in such a heavy burden that they can't see the light, and yet you know they are in there somewhere. Dark times are where no-one understands you, shies away from you and you become invisible. Dark times are where you just don't want to continue.

    I can say all this because I have been in the dark times. I didn't recognise it at dusk. I fell slowly into darkness. And once I'd arrived I didn't realise. And then I became afraid, very afraid. But then my "bloody minded gene" sparked up and told me I was worth trying. Trying, searching, experiencing a more positive attitude to life. I am connecting with kindness, empathy, patience, strength, nature and tomorrow. But right now I'm here, at dawn, taking every day as it comes with gratitude. Some days are better than others, but I shall get there.

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