I meant to share this much earlier. I’m not sure why I didn’t. I think I just didn’t feel entirely comfortable with my poem. But it’s a publication and a project I really enjoyed so I ought to share it. The project was called Re-imagining Ageing (produced by research organisation Lab4Living and Joan Healey, Social Sciences lecturer at Sheffield University) and I took part in the workshops last summer along with a bunch of other poets. Together we explored ideas related to the meaning of time and how we spend it now compared to life before plague times.
One of my poems, The Sands of Time, made it into the exhibition and the pamphlet, which I am pretty stoked about. I submitted four altogether and they’ve all been accepted to appear in an anthology later this year along with other participants’ poems exploring this vast subject. The exhibition took place at the end of last year and the photos were taken on my phone so they’re not razor sharp. Below is a version of my poem that’s a little easier on the eye.
Does time make everything more unbearable or more treasured, as dear as hard-won freedom? As you cast off the arrogance of your twenties and r- -ealise this time, you know how to lov- -e better than you ever did? Can time only be measured in all the moments you spend with people you love? And if those peo- -ple are gone does tim- -e bec- om- e- a h a u n t , a s- -er- -ies of memories ghosting you as you recall, h- -onour and worship bittersweet traces of y- -our departed loved? Why must time be measured in dete- -rioration, the look of things, beauty fading, echoes, amnesia, silence and how quickly dust gathers? Who was I with you, who am I this moment, to where will I eventually disappear?
Honestly, it does make me cringe a little. It needs editing but I didn’t want to mess with the shape of it so I submitted it as was. Perhaps it only got in because it worked visually. Looking at it now, I’d definitely want to rewrite it. I think I repeat the word love too much. I think I would rather not use the word love at all. Some words are overused and I feel this one is.
Still, it was a good event and at the end poets were invited to read their poems. There was a lovely receptive audience of maybe thirty people, and though I always get a little nervous before reading, in that moment I wasn’t nervous at all.
And, of course, I’m not in my twenties, I’m quite a bit older now. But I refer to the invincible feeling one has during those years and how it stays with you for a while beyond that decade, that is, until you get a wake up call or two and realise you ought to be doing what you love as time is only shortening (now I can’t stop using the word love!).
And I understand why middle age is called middle age but I have never liked phrases that have ageist connotations, or ageism in general.
Anyway, there were some wonderful poems in the exhibition, moving, bittersweet, life-affirming. I hope to share more from the anthology when it comes out later this year.