Friday, May 11, 2018

The Usual Subject - Simon Darragh

One grows used to the loss itself;
it is the details catch, and scourge:
the extra tea-cup on the shelf;
the kitchen table, grown too large.

Not in sorrow for wasted days
of love unspoken,
but by trivia such as these
the heart is broken

I came across this poem courtesy of Conor Kelly, proprietor of the excellent Poem Today Twitter feed, in which he posts tweet sized poems.  It's an excellent daily feed, and a wonderful way to find new poetry.  If you search @poemtoday you will find his Twitter, and he also has a blog, which you can find here.  Conor Kelly is a poet as well, and perhaps with his blessing, I will post some of it here in the future.

This poem from Simon Darragh speaks to the realities of loss in practical terms, much like the excellent Roo Borson poem, "After a Death."  In Darragh's excellent short poem, it is not "sorrow for wasted days" that makes loss so hard.  Rather, it is the details left behind by someone's loss.  As he so expertly puts, it is the "extra tea-cup" or the now too spacious kitchen table.  It is the void left in our practical, material reality that stands out most.  What I appreciate about this poem in comparison with Borson's is that this speaks to a more general sense of loss.  While I do feel that this speaks to death more than anything, it could just as well apply to a traumatic romantic loss.  Reading the poem with both senses in mind causes different images to come to mind.  The "trivia" that breaks the heart is unique to each of us, and that is the power of the poem.  What I picture will be different than what you picture, and I like that Darragh avoided too many specifics, preferring instead to give examples.


  1. What a marvellous compacted poem: multum in parvo.

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