Monday, 1 March 2021

The beginning of the end

 Is there that feeling where you are? That we are still living the effects of the Pandemic, but change is coming quickly now? At the start of last week I was really quite sad. It marked one month until the boys and I will go back to school, and I imagine that this really will be the last school closure. Mattman will have left school by the autumn anyway, and I do hope that the vaccine* will preclude the awful pressures we've seen on hospitals even if there are more waves to come.

I can't pretend that we have had a difficult time with restrictions. We are all here together*, all well*, all with everything we need and more*. Caring responsibilities have kept PC and me in our respective parents' houses*, and the privilege of strong broadband* and many devices* has kept us in touch with work* and school* and friends *and church*. In fact we have been more in touch with some friends*, and able to make many new friends*.

So at the start of this week, one of only three Mondays left until we go back into the big, bad world, I am deliberately making myself savour the moments left to These Strange Times, and giving great thanks for the year that we have had here in a Meadowplace. And I suppose with the year's anniversary coming up for us around St Patrick's Day, I want to spend the remaining time reflecting on the value we found in our particular locked down lives.

While I'm here, there was no review of February books because I did not finish one single thing. That's appalling! But it was somehow like those first weeks of the first Lockdown where I couldn't settle my mind enough to concentrate on either reading or crochet, when it was so hard to sleep at night. Without being aware of anxiety during the day, there was a feeling of fragility to the days. That was before we settled into glorious days of unprecedented good weather,* with all the baking of sourdough* and the interesting dinners*, and the Lockdown birthdays that needed creative celebration*!

But over the last week I have been dipping in and out of this poetry collection. Longley is a contemporary of Heaney, and I was taught Eliot's Wasteland by his wife in my first year as an undergraduate. It's interesting to read his poetic descriptions of her when I remember a stately, bohemian, aristocratic English woman bemoaning the fact that we were studying Wasteland at the start of our literary studies (when by implication we knew nothing!) instead of as an accumulation of references at the end. She always seemed harrassed and nervous, and I think I blamed Longley when in fact she must just have been distressed at yet another lecture theatre of students who thought they already knew everything when in fact they knew naught!

Anyway, here's my current favourite Longley excerpt, from "Leaving Inishmore". It says something about what this year has been for me! (And MK, I'm claiming this as my poetry anthology!)

Summer and solstice as the seasons turn/Anchor our boat in a perfect standstill

Happy Monday, world. Happy last few weeks of Lockdown x

*Ages ago I thought I'd count Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gratitudes and two years ago I got to 860. I really thought I'd got closer to the 1000 mark, but I can't find any more recent posts than this, so that's another example of my utter and characteristic lack of consistency! But with so much to be thankful for surely I can finally put this to bed?!! (878)


gretchenjoanna said...

Thank you for telling about Michael Longley, whom I don't know. I am too distracted at the moment to truly attend to a poem, but I found this provocative quote from him while I was briefly trying, and it makes me want to come back later:

'When asked in a 1998 interview about the formal discipline that helps him produce four- and two-line poems, Longley replied, “Was it Tennyson who said that a perfect lyric inscribes the shape of an S? That sense of a gesture, you know, the way you use your hand if you’re bowing, if you’re reaching out to shake somebody’s hand, if you’re going to stroke a cat, if you’re holding a woman’s hand to take her on to the dance floor.”'

M.K. said...

I also feel that we are somehow cresting a hill, Mags, although I'm a bit uncertain of what is on the other side of that hill. But it feels good to be coming to the end of something. The vaccine is giving hope!
The anthology sounds good. No worries about the reading - it will come.

Pom Pom said...

Oh Mags. I hope going back is okay.
There have been bonding aspects, for sure!
God be with you!

Lisa Richards said...

Hugs to you and yours, Mags! Hang in there, sister! :)

Happy St Patrick's Day!

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