Emily Dickinson’s “No Prisoner be” is a declaration of liberty I hope to make my own. It promises, ultimately, that one can always be free. But it does indicate that involves hard thinking about what we consider freedom in suboptimal situations.
I enjoyed writing once again on Amy King’s “I’ve Opted for a Heart This Mid-November Morn.” I can’t say I always feel good. Sometimes it does feel like a lot of things are a conspiracy against me, that I’m perceived certain ways and because of those perceptions, I’m not allowed to be myself. It feels like my appreciation of the world is only mine, worth less than garbage. King’s poem does a wonderful job of affirming the value of merely trying to appreciate, trying to communicate.
Jane Hirshfield’s “All the Difficult Hours and Minutes” expanded upon themes of the last two poems. How to deal with all the difficult moments, the ones we save and our brains replay over and over again? Hirshfield implies that we can call forth a higher purpose from what otherwise seems self-torture. This is certainly not easy, and it depends upon the correct circumstances.
Yosa Buson’s “Yearning for the Past” suggested something that I have trouble even conceiving nowadays, a situation where people love the present so much more than the past. Eventually it does cry for the past, not out of nostalgia, but a real sense that the past could be lost in the midst of a wonderful but temporary present. How to appreciate what is while respecting what was?
Larkin makes poetry look like the easiest thing for him. “The Mower” showcases his tremendous gifts and drive. It’s a plea for kindness, taking the urgency of carpe diem and transforming it into a radical call for love. It’s really hard to top just how excellent this poem is.