I am happy to say that my new Anthology ‘Love, Remember’ will be published this Thursday, the 23rd of November, and that there will be an Official Launch at Heffers on December 14th at 6:30pm to which everyone is welcome.
My new book is a collection of poems, accompanied by prose commentary and meditation which is intended to accompany and articulate the journey through grief and lamentation towards hope. The book is intended as an antidote to the oft-quoted passage by Henry Scott-Holland, that ‘Death is nothing at all’. Death will swallowed up in victory on the last day, but for now it definitely is something, something dire and difficult, and we are all choking on it. I will return to Scott-Holland, and a surprising discovery I made about his famous ‘poem’, in my next post, but for now here are the opening paragraphs of my new book, setting out its scope. I hope that this book will be a real help to all of us on that journey.
This book is written to give voice both to love and to lamentation, to find expression for grief without losing hope, to help us honour the dead with tears, yet still to glimpse through those tears the light of resurrection. It is written in the conviction that the grief which we so often hide in embarrassment, the tears of which some people would want to make us ashamed, are the very things that make us most truly human. Grief and lament spring from the deepest parts of our soul because, however bitter the herbs and fruits they seem to bear, their real root is Love and I believe that it is Love who made the world and made us who we are.
Why should we need to make the case for giving place and even permission to our lamentation, our grief and our tears? Surely, such grief is the most natural thing in the world and should be met always, with compassion, and even a kind of admiration for the courage bereaved people show in expressing and even summoning the painful memories of those they have loved and lost. Yet we live in a culture that averts the eyes from death and is embarrassed at every reminder of mortality. We live in a culture of the ‘quick fix’, the easy answer, the so-called ‘power of positive thinking’. Once we had a positive tradition of mourning, a time set aside for it, with all its own customs and rituals, sympathies and consolations. We once had a culture that gave us a time to weep as well as a time to celebrate: now, we are rushed straight to the celebration and even that is no consolation for we all have to pretend that there is nothing to be consoled about.