A few days ago, our friend Zéphirine lost her Maine Coon cat Holly amidst the always traumatic confusion of moving house. Happily, Holly was found last night and re-united with her mistress.
We’ve all lost things: Family, lovers, friends, pets, jobs, money, a sense of purpose, hope, respect for politicians, your way home, the will to live, your mind, your perspective, your sense of humour, your wits, your sense of proportion, your inspiration, your hair, your teeth, the remote…
Sometimes we get them back, sometimes we don’t want them back; sometimes it’s as though a large chunk of your essential being has been torn from you, raw and bleeding; other times you didn’t even notice that what you’d lost was gone.
Let’s have poems on loss. You might even have one lying around. Have a look. Can’t find it? You must have lost it. Well, that’s inspiration for you…
Here’s an old one of mine about that final great loss of all things:
‘Ainsi, toujours pousses vers de nouveaux rivages,
Dans la nuit eternelle emportes sans retour’
–Le Lac by Alphonse De Lamartine*
Black of wing and raucous caw,
Razor-beaked and sharp of claw;
What dark messenger has come
To tell you that your race is run?
Fabled, sable, able crow,
Won’t you tell me where we go?
Sighing, crying, dying me,
What’s the difference?
Now I’m free.
Dirt, stars, blood, air,
Rock, light, spit, bones,
Sinew, ashes, dust, hair,
Love, hate, water, stones.
The dark bird wheels,
The dark wheel spins,
The dark conceals
The darkest sins.
Again the fatal dance begins.
* ‘So, always impelled towards new shores,
Carried for ever into eternal night’