“…all real unity commences
In consciousness of differences”
What is there to say at the end of a week such a this? We turn to poets and find solace in their words. We turn to each other and find comfort in this space.
Krista Tippet recently interviewed Michael Longley, a Northern Irish poet whose work has sought “to reassert the liveliness of ordinary things, precisely in the face of what is hardest and most broken in life and society.”
Living in Northern Ireland throughout the years known as “the Troubles”, Longley has much to teach us as we come to terms with the results of this week’s election. I will keep his wise words in my heart as I go about my work in the coming months:
“And good art, good poems is making people more human, making them more intelligent, making them more sensitive and emotionally pure than they might otherwise be.”
“All of These People”
by Michael Longley
Who was it who suggested that the opposite of war
Is not so much peace as civilization? He knew
Our assassinated Catholic greengrocer who died
At Christmas in the arms of our Methodist minister,
And our ice-cream man who continuing requiem
Is the twenty-one flavours children have by heart.
Our cobbler mends shoes for everybody; our butcher
Blends into his best sausages leeks, garlic, honey;
Our cornershop sells everything from bread to kindling.
Who can bring peace to people who are not civilized?
All of these people, alive or dead, are civilized.
Listen to Michael Longley read his poem here.
Please be sure to visit Jama Rattigan at Jama’s Alphabet Soup for the Poetry Friday Roundup.