We read a volume of poetry this month – a challenge for many of us (the last time I had seriously looked at poetry was school). Helen Dunmore died in 2017, and the collection was written through her last months and many of the poems are” concerned with the borderline between the living and the dead – the underworld and the human living world – and the exquisitely intense being of both”.
Many of the poems are easy to read through and not morbid. Some had been moved to tears – particularly by the last poem ‘Hold out your arms’. It was interesting discussing the poems that had worked for individual members as different observations and reactions brought out aspects that others hadn’t noticed. It reminded me that part of the joy of poetry is what the reader brings from their own experience. Themes included with the minutiae of life, detailed observations of the moment, nature and memory.
The poem that we all were drawn to was ‘My life’s stem was cut’ which simply and eloquently describes the moment the poet knew she was dying but finishes optimistically ‘But why not keep flowering ’.
Generally the ones that had worked less well were those with classical allusions.
One benefit of reading poetry was that it is easy to fit into a busy schedule!