Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Taking Stock OR A Sense of Perspective

People often tell me that as we grow old(er) we spend more time looking back because there are fewer reason to look forward, and it is this ‘negativity’ that  drags us down and others with us. I don’t agree. Looking back can be inspirational, stirring mind and spirit as once it was stirred by the sheer energy and imagination of earlier years, to that sense of spirituality intrinsic to nature and human nature and which may or may not have anything to do with religion.

True, taking stock of one's life can be a scary business; we invariably find self and life wanting. Yet, it can be a comfort too, reminding ourselves that we are but human and our failures are as much down to that as our successes. It reminds us, too, that we are as we are, live as we live…and there is time yet to open our eyes to more of the same (and its multiple variations) before they close forever upon one perspective at least on the art of being human.

I wrote this poem (a villanelle) in a reflective mood on Brighton pier. As regular readers will know, I have been going to Brighton since I was a very young child and my mother would take me during school holidays. I will be 69 later this year so have a lot of taking stock to do from time to time.

It is so true that taking stock of our lives may not always be as rewarding a process as we might like, but it can (if we let it)  help us remember who we are, how we got this far, and even (maybe) lend us the insight to right a few wrongs, make good some mistakes, identify and work through the fears as well as the strengths that drive us...


On Brighton pier,
engaging a feisty sea,
defying all fear

Child of yesteryear
calls (tearfully) for me
on Brighton pier

Mist starts to clear,
lusty waves cheerfully
defying all fear

Cloud faces as queer
as folk, every right to be 
on Brighton pier

Listen, and I can hear
a world in true harmony
defying all fear

Life, death, small beer
once pitted with eternity;
on Brighton pier,
defying all fear…

Copyright R. N. Taber, 2005; 2018

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears in A Feeling for the Quickness of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005.]

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