I read a book last night that I loved: Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. Its the story of Liz who dies in a hit and run accident when she’s fifteen. She goes to Elsewhere, an afterlife, where she learns she will never have grow up. She will never drive, never go to university, get married or have children. Instead her body will get younger and younger until she is reincarnated.
It’s a beautiful book, that I will probably rave about later when I have my thoughts in order. There’s a passage near the end that had me sobbing. Its a tender mediation on all the experiences Liz will never have good and bad. The words chosen make this section read like a poem and reminded me how much I love poetry.
This wasn’t always the case. When I was at school I hated poetry, because I found it difficult to understand. It seemed impossible to me that such a multitude of meanings could be compacted into such a small space. Unlike novels poetry does not necessary have to have a narrative thread running through it. You can play with form, syntax, punctuation, meaning. But slowly I started to fall in love with poetry for all the reasons I had hated it (I’m contrary like that). I also briefly flirtated with writing my own obscenely terrible (but creatively satisfying at the time) poetry.
After reading Elsewhere I knew that I wanted to read some good poems. But most of the poet websites out there are just plain ugly, and even worse hard to use. Among the best are university sites. All I want is aesthetically appealing or at the very least clean looking website, with a brief context of the poets life or type of poem below. But there doesn’t seem to be anything like that out there.
However I did rediscover this fantastic E. E Cummings poem, carry your heart with me.
carry your heart with me
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it (anywhere i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)