I’ve Still Got Reader’s Block, But These Poems Have Helped
So, I still haven’t read a single book. Not one. Not a page!
And, honestly, I blame the pandemic. Which is what I’ve been blaming most things on lately: My lack of motivation to exercise. My love life. The small cluster of pimples on my chin. Thankfully, there have been two literary morsels that have gone some way to make me feel better about the state of the world and my lack of intellectual stimulation.
I should preface this by saying: I’m not a poetry person. I’ve never really “got” it. Most poems float up and over my head. But a good poem can make you feel the same way turning the last page on a 300-page novel does. Bliss. Or it’s at least a reasonable substitute. Like when you don’t have time for a 90-minute bubble bath so you settle for a scorching hot 16-minute shower instead.
I think my favourite poem of all time is The Orange by Wendy Knope. I always feel like crying when I read it, and yet I never know if it’s a happy cry or a sad one. Maybe it’s a bit of both. I love the way the sentences bounce gently off one another. Ricocheting from one line to the next. I love how you can almost smell the citrus. I love the last line, and how it catches you off-guard.
The other poem I’ve returned to recently is What To Remember When Waking by David Whyte. I first fell in love with it when I came across a video of Whyte talking about what inspired the poem and then reciting it aloud in this sort of informal, conversational way. He has this smooth, soft texture to his voice that doesn’t intimidate me the way most poets do. What To Remember When Waking is about that small window of time that *only exists* when you first wake; before you remember your to-do list, before you regret that thing you said yesterday, before you worry about the “today” staring back at you. It’s never more than a few minutes and it’s usually gone before you’ve had time to saviour it properly: “There is a small opening into the new day, which closes the moment you begin your plans.”
I’m not sure why I’m sharing any of this, other than to say: I hope they make you feel better too.