Monday, 26 March 2012

Monday Poem

I have posted this wonderful poem by Kathleen Raine in memory of Elspeth Thompson, whose untimely death two years ago yesterday, 25 March 2010, shocked and saddened so many of us who read her books and followed her inspiring blog.  It was a favourite poem of Elspeth and she posted it on her blog in the January preceding her death.

It goes like this ...

I believe nothing - what need
Surrounded as I am with marvels of what is,
This familiar room, books, shabby carpet on the floor,
Autumn yellow jasmine, chrysanthemums, my mother's flower,
Earth-scent of memories, daily miracles,
Yet media-people ask, "Is there a God?"
What does the word mean
To the fish in his ocean, birds
In his skies, and stars?
I only know that when I turn in sleep
Into the invisible, it seems
I am upheld by love, and what seems is
Inexplicable here and now of joy and sorrow,
This inexhaustible, untidy world -
I would not have it otherwise.

I Believe Nothing by Kathleen Raine

You can read about the poet, Kathleen Raine here

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  1. Hello Jeanne:
    This poem is such a perfect tribute to the life of Elspeth Thompson who made such an important contribution to the gardening world. Ever the champion of the insignificant things in life, the overlooked, the understated, the humble and the honest, she was an inspiration to a generation of gardeners and interior decorators. She has been a significant loss and the manner of her death was so terribly sad.

  2. Dear Jeanne,

    I am both quietly elated and saddened after reading this poem. I feel alive therefore; humble, grateful and in awe of amazing people like Elspeth Thompson and the rest of us who are trying not to make to much sense of it all whilst living life as it deserves to be lived. Joyfully and wholeheartedly.

    It's good to see you back.


  3. Thanks for calling on me, Jeanne; I am grateful to have read this. I do believe in an after life and trust it will be that invisible upholding love.

    So sorry for the loss of your friend.


  4. A lovely tribute to Elspeth.
    Her great vision in the gardening world has been truly missed but we shall savour each of her books again and again...
    Susan x

  5. Just saying 'hello!' and soaking in your posts. I keep thinking of the lonely chair, too. Talk about leaving something to the imagination...


  6. A beautiful poem and a fitting tribute

  7. I can't believe it's been two years already Jeanne. I was reminded all over again of the sadness when someone takes their own life. I have the collected poems of Kathleen Raine and am always surprised she is not known by a wider audience. I think you have redressed the balance today. x

  8. This really is a beautiful poem. I think it speaks to people of different beliefs, because I see it as celebrating beauty and wonder and rejecting a kind of one-fits-all definition of what people should believe. The images she lingers over are stunning, and the line "I am upheld by love" moved me deeply.

    I'm so glad you're back from your blogging break and are sharing these wonderful words with us.

  9. A beautiful tribute to Elspeth. Thanks for posting it Jeannne.

  10. I just finished reading a book whose main character was named Elspeth, and now here another one crosses my path. I will look her up and see what she did and who she was.

    Lovely poem, as well. Thank you!

  11. Just beautiful Jeanne.

    Happy evening & enjoy the garden tomorrow :-)

    Madelief x

  12. Dear Jeanne,

    I've blogged about my baby garden from last summer.....FINALLY! Of course, I want to share it with you! =] So, if you have some time to come and visit...and wouldn't mind... it would be so fun.... ;) =D


  13. Nice blog. I'm on a bit of a mission to get my favorite classic poem up in to my top ten posts so it shows on the sidebar. So it would be great if you would have a look. Ozymandias


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