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The Gift

Just finished reading Louise Glück's 2006 collection of poems "Averno", and the following piece is prompted by her poem, "Landscape" where she describes the present as "the part of the present you can see." It set me thinking (possibly in the light of reading "The Order of Time" by Carlo Rovelli recently and some work I am involved with here regarding the historical legacy in Northern Ireland) that not only do we need to make the most of the present moment in general, but especially here in Northern Ireland where the understanding of the past and hopes for the future are both contested spaces.

Yes, I know that the semantic interplay of "gift" and "present" is a bit of a cliché, but it does capture for me the precious nature of the "now." There is also a shamelessly clumsy hybrid reference to famous lines by both Dickinson and Marvell. But if you are going to plunder other poets for inspiration, pilfer from the best - and in that include Glück. Whilst this is actually the first time I have even come across this Nobel laureate (thanks to my son Owain who gave the book to his mother earlier in the year), it probably won't be the last piece that Louise Glück's writing sparks in me... Although that lies in an uncertain future...

Who knows what the future will be
Despite our plans and preparations?
In this place even the past is uncertain;
It is frozen pain, opaque with fissures -
A mosaic of partial, partisan memorials.
All that is guaranteed to us is now,
the gift that is the present
So let us hold that hope-filled,
Wingèd thing lightly.
Selah
 

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