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Other people say it better: part three

July 12, 2013

The Mower

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.

–Philip Larkin

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2013 12:45 am

    Oh. I got up because of no sleep, thinking I’d just work for a bit, and now here I am weeping a little. Our pony died this week and the absence is still new. Thank you for this. That one line about burial being no help – that’s going to ring for days. Also, have you read Disturbances in the Field? When you’re ready to move on from comforting mysteries, it might be worth your time. Thinking of you…

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      July 13, 2013 8:13 am

      That’s one of my mom’s and my favorite books. Brutal, but very very good. I’m so sorry about your pony.

  2. July 13, 2013 7:59 am

    Lovely post, thanks for these.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      July 13, 2013 8:49 pm

      I’m hoping more people will post poems in the comments section. Hint, hint, hint…

  3. Jenny permalink
    July 16, 2013 2:53 pm

    One Art

    The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
    so many things seem filled with the intent
    to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

    Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
    of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
    The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

    Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
    places, and names, and where it was you meant
    to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

    I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
    next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
    The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

    I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
    some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
    I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

    – Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
    I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
    the art of losing’s not too hard to master
    though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

    — Elizabeth Bishop

  4. Jenny permalink
    July 16, 2013 4:55 pm


    Trying to remember you
    is like carrying water
    in my hands a long distance
    across sand. Somewhere people are waiting.
    They have drunk nothing for days.

    Your name was the food I lived on;
    now my mouth is full of dirt and ash.
    To say your name was to be surrounded
    by feathers and silk; now, reaching out,
    I touch glass and barbed wire.
    Your name was the thread connecting my life;
    now I am fragments on a tailor’s floor.

    I was dancing when I
    learned of your death; may
    my feet be severed from my body.

    –Stephen Dobyns

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      July 16, 2013 7:11 pm

      Oh my god. I knew the Bishop poem well–this one is brand new to me. Thank you.

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