While my kid is in the hospital (improving daily 🙂 ) I’m having trouble reading substantial poetry articles or having the patience to do my regular blogging. I do want to write here, though, about the book that helped me through his operation: for some random reason I had The Poetry Pharmacy when we went to the ER–I’d gotten a copy because I’m considering writing an essay on it, esp. as my mother got it this past Xmas from my brother and it helped her through the early days after my Dad’s December 26 death. It recommends different poems for different personal problems (Unrequited Love, Need for Reassurance, Glumness, Old Age) and has a write-up about each separate “condition” before its poem.
The write-ups aren’t as good as the poems, (which is how things should be!) but the selection of poems is excellent, and reading poems that addressed other people’s problems helped me through the anxiety & sadness & terror I was in during my son’s operation. (Reading the write-ups in between was a good pallet-cleanser, too.) The book is a good reminder that everyone goes through tough times, which helps one to know when one is going through one’s own. It was also a decent distraction….In contrast I was given a copy of Kevin Young’s The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing by my brother after our dad had his fatal Xmas heart attack. The book helped my brother and has helped many others, but although I know it’s an excellent anthology I haven’t read it yet myself as the topic is too overwhelming to me right now. (As would be a book of poems about sick children.) The amount of varied topics in The Poetry Pharmacy was right, though. I also didn’t have the concentration to read longer bits of fiction or articles, but I had enough to get through the short pieces–another reason why poetry is good to read during crazy times.
I will buy copies of this book for friends when they too go through trauma. (Hopefully they will never go through any trauma, though!!!!!!!!) Oy.
From The Poetry Pharmacy, under the heading “Condition: Parental Protectiveness”
Vernon Scannell – Nettles
My son aged three fell in the nettle bed.
“Bed” seemed a curious name for those green spears.
That regiment of spite behind the shed:
It was no place for rest. With sobs and tears
The boy came seeking comfort and I saw