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.
23 responses to “Love, Remember: Poems of Loss, Lament, and Hope”
Congratulations Malcolm on what sounds like an important and humanistic piece of writing.
I am looking forward to reading this. I too find the “Quick Fix” society in which we live very difficult. I am mourning because I lost my sight and my ability to walk, through cancer. My tears generally are neither understood nor accepted. I too write pietry about it, whilst stioo trying to keep hope aluve. Thankyou for writing this book.
Thank you for this comment and for sharing some of your story
As a woman of 69 whose 96 year old father died in January your comments about loss and bereavement ring very true with me. As an ordained priest when I visited Mt GP he told me that I should be glad my father had died, because he was where we, as Christians believe we should be striving for. So where was the space for grieving meant to be?
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Thank you for this. One of my pet peeves lately is this ‘rushing’ through everything especially grief. As I age I go slower and that means for processing grief also. Let me stay as long as I need to and know that I am strong enough to come out of it.
See you Dec. 8 in Edmonton with Steve Bell. I am ecstatic that you both will be performing an Advent concert. See you soon.
Looking forward to your new book.
Thanks see you in Edmonton!
Thank you Malcolm for helping us to celebrate Ian’s life. Your words will help us through our time of grieving to the dwn of new hope.
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Thanks Maggie it was an honour
I look forward to this book. I too felt rushed through grief when my husband died suddenly – 9 years ago now. I know many others who feel the same, and this tends us to make us harder, as we build a shell of protection around our unshed tears. If we show our misery, no one will want to talk to us – we have to get on with life. And so I have and we all do.
Thanks I hope the book is helpful
That is great news. However I am not able to pre-order a Kindle version. Any advice Malcolm please? I shall be at the first day of the Ashes on Thursday so a memorable day all round!
I’m told it will be available on kindle but perhaps not till the day of publication. Wow. Lucky you to be at the ashes!
Well said! Very true. How often do we hear “He/she wouldn’t want us to grieve.”? I recently attended a Thanksgiving Service where all the emphasis was on celebrating the life of the deceased but not grieving. Well, it may have worked, outwardly, but, inside, I was needing to be very upset.
Already pre-ordered through Amazon!
Hi Malcolm, my wife and I were blessed to listen to you and Steve Bell in Kitchener last night and I am really curious about the ‘discovery’ you made about Holland’s poem but where is the follow up post? Peace and blessings,
I’ll post it soon!
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Brilliant words on ‘Death is nothing at all’. Really important publication and very useful for those of us who have suffered loss of a loved one. Thank you.