Could the way we look at things change what happens to us?
Welcome to ‘Perspective’ – Episode 2 in a new series of poetry readings. All the poems in this series are available to watch here and on YouTube.
Each poem in this particular episode came from a poetry prompt, issued by Poetry Ireland’s Poet in Residence: Catherine Ann Cullen. The view from the scaffold got me thinking of a time when we were in the middle of renovating our current home. We had scaffolding set up for a number of months. Although the house itself didn’t look great at that point, the view already felt like home – with its trees, fields and hills in every shade of green.
The prompt of Atropos seemed terribly significant at that early stage of the pandemic. I worried about every person precious to me. I thought about my own life and of all the things I hadn’t done – would I still get to do them? I imagined this ‘bringer of death’, poised to cut the thread of my existence. When we are under threat, what can we do, but make the most of each moment? We don’t know how long our lives will be, so we need to really live while we are alive, be open to all experiences.
When I saw the prompt, Reflection, I remembered the Alfred Lord Tennyson quote: ‘The mirror crack’d from side to side’ from his poem, ‘The Lady of Shalott’. There is a sense of doom about that poem and it’s true that mirrors can be the source of a lot of negativity. We start and end the day looking in the mirror. No one else will ever scrutinize our appearance in this way. But can we ever truly see ourselves, when it’s just a reflection that meets our gaze? And then there’s the fact that the image we see is everchanging . . . I wanted to write about finding the true self by looking elsewhere.
Hopefully, these three poems will help to bring some positives into focus. Belief in the self and in good things has certainly helped me to keep moving forward in these difficult times.
Photo by K. S. Moore