Poetry as a life companion
Elizabeth Heathcote finds that an anthology of poems makes a great companion to life
Anthologies are a great way into poetry – a taster of many different writers and of course you often get the pick of their crop. I have been reading Penguin’s Poems For Life, selected by Laura Barber, a collection arranged around the different life stages. The joy of an anthology is the mix of half-known classics and new finds and there are some great companions for life here.
I laughed my way through my first full-length reading of Philip Larkin’s reflections on work as a Toad that he allows to “squat on my life”:
Six days of the week it soils
With its sickening poison –
Just for paying a few bills!
That’s out of proportion…
I felt a sigh like Robert Frost’s own reading The Road Not Taken, about the traveller who meets a fork in his path and has to choose, not knowing until the final verse that his decision will prove irrevocable:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
And among my new discoveries was Carmen Bugan’s A house of stone – well-wishes to newlyweds. This verse rang particularly true to me – in a good way.
When you imagine that you have shared everything
May you know that you still have the rest of your lives
To do all of it again and again.
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