Friday Poem – Elegy for the Living

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Elegy for the Living’ from Kathryn Simmonds’ insightful collection The Visitations.

In this book, Simmonds infuses with beauty the everyday phenomena that we often neglect: from fleeting moments with strangers on the street, to even that peculiar yet widely recognisable experience of forgetting what exactly we went upstairs to retrieve. Through an innovative and triumphant blend of humour and realism – complemented by its simple yet wonderfully rich language – the collection explores both the truths and the uncertainties of life in terms of faith, the self, and the familial. This creative ambiguity reaches a crescendo in the title poem ‘The Visitations’ in which the divine is effortlessly combined with the domestic. Yet even her more elegiac poems are rarely sombre, but abound with the imagery of homeliness, and an underlying sense of vigour and life.

Elegy for the Living

We wash up side by side
to find each other


in the speakable world,
and, lulled into sense,


inhabit our landscape;
the curve


of that chair draped
with your shirt;


my glass of  water
seeded overnight with air.


After this bed
there’ll be another,


so we’ll roll
and keep rolling


until one of  us
will roll alone and try to roll


the other back — a trick
no one’s yet pulled off —


and it’ll be
as if   I dreamed you, dear,


as if   I dreamed this bed,
our touching limbs,


this room, the tree outside alive
with new wet light.


Not now. Not yet.

Buy The Visitations on our website. 


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