Monday, November 10, 2008

From Bad to Worse. Sometimes Not.

We had a party at our house this past weekend. Having planned it weeks ago, we billed it as a "Post-Election Celebration and/or Wake" depending on how a person voted and how it went on Tuesday. Given how it went and given we live in Vermont, the first state to be officially called for Obama, it was about 96% celebration. It was the most cheerful crowd I've been among since my high school graduation and without the mood-altering substances.
It was only after everyone had left and we were left basking in the afterglow of an evening with our good friends and neighbors that I remembered a poem I had intended to read as a toast, so I'll share it here.
This little poem by Welsh poet, Sheenagh Pugh, has been permanently on my computer's desktop since I discovered it some ten years ago. For me it has served as comfort and companion during bleak days and I cannot read it even after thousands of times without feeling -- how else to say it -- Hope. I've sent it to many a struggling or heartbroken friend over the years, but this week it seemed to morph into less of a comfort than a promise fulfilled. I use it here without the author's permission, so please give proper credit to the poet if you decide to pass this along yourself.


Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best intentions do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.


Blogger Gary said...

Thanks, Tom. This means even more to me personally as I'm going through a winter of the heart. This poem is a warm ray of sunshine that has put a smile on my face.

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes... You nailed it.. or should I say, Sheenagh Pugh nailed it.

Thanks to both of you.

1:15 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

In these rolling foothills of middle age, I'm starting to take a shine to poetry. I'm still puzzled about how to go about poetizing myself, but as I read this encouraging piece aloud, my uncertainty faded. Mahalo Mucho.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Tom Bodett said...

Billy Collins is a great way into the poetic universe -- literate, accessible, and best of all, frequently funny. Check it out.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Miz Annie said...

Thank you for sharing this, Tom. I will probably pass it along, myself.

be in balance,

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Chuck Dennis said...

I did not vote for Obama but you know, I am hopeful that he will be good for this country. My prayers are with him as he becomes our President.

GOD Bless you all this holiday season...

Hillsboro OR

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Fay said...

I love this poem too - it came into my mind today, for reasons which are my own but are probably shared by about 26% of the world at any given time. Which is what is lovely about this poem, we all share in suffering and we can all share in hope, and the sharing is good either way.

And when googling the poem, I found your site - glad I did! I will go and read one of your books now :-)

4:25 PM  

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