Monday, 12 April 2010

far away but remembering

Here I am wandering the foggy streets of San Francisco, thousands of miles away from my green and sometimes pleasant land. My thoughts keep returning to Elspeth Thompson who's Wonderful Weekend Book I had the honour to illustrate a couple of years ago. I only met her the once but we stayed in contact and I was affected by the way she lived and seemed to find joy and beauty in the details of everyday life. I am so shocked and saddened by her death but like many others I will always remember and be so so grateful for her inspiring words.
This is a poem she recommended for reading when the clocks go forward. It seems apt today somehow...


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

You can read her obituary in the Telegraph here


Chrissy Foreman C said...

Oh my, Elspeth's poem is so, so beautiful in a heart-touching way.
Thank you for sharing her beautiful work

Alice Stevenson said...

Its not by her- its a poem she liked. But yes it is beautiful.

betsy said...

I was so sad to hear about Elspeth's death. Such a heartbreaking loss. This poem is a perfect remembrance.