If you’re having a bad day, catch a wave………or read a poem

Oh, the joy of finding someone who understands, of seeing what you felt or have felt captured in a phrase.

Sometimes it’s silly –we all love the “you don’t have to be mad to work here” slogans., not only because they are funny, but because they are apt. They mean something to us. I was driving home from the lab last night, after a very long day and Joe Walsh’s song “Life’s been good to me so far” came on the radio. I’ve always loved this one –the guitar is superb. I was singing along at the top of my voice, but burst out laughing at the line “they say I’m crazy but I haven’t the time”. At that moment, it summed up my work life.

And today? I’m sitting on the sofa, idly looking up a poem –the one about the candle burning at both ends. I must admit, I’d assumed that it was a one off penned by a wealthy socialite. Turns out, no these sparkling and witty throw away lines were written by a woman feted and taught as a great poet in her native land. But here in Britain, I’ve never heard of her: Edna St. Vincent Millay

Thanks to the Poetry Foundation, I now have tasted some of her work and am hooked. I’m writing this having just discovered the amazing “Time does not bring relief; you all have lied”. This poem describes grief so well…please go read it.

The candle poem is Called First Fig. There’s an equally good Second Fig –go look for it.

I am now off, to continue my surfing. So far I’ve read Edna’s biography, which led me to look up Vasser College (Edna’s alma mater), Maria Mitchell (who went to Vasser) and thus to Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, who has long been hero of mine, the first person to work out the composition of the Sun, and in her Doctoral thesis too! Tim Berners-Lee, we all owe you so much……

And I’m determined to get a book of Edna’s poems.


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