Opening exercises

Love Without Hope

Robert Graves 

Love without hope, as when the young bird-catcher
Swept off his tall hat to the Squire’s own daughter,
So let the imprisoned larks escape and fly
Singing about her head, as she rode by.


Tonight was epic as far as bedtimes go. The baby’s spidey-senses appear to be unhampered by her mild, vaccine-induced fever, and alerted her repeatedly to the fact that she was being lowered into her bed instead of snuggled on my shoulder. It doesn’t help, generally, that her bedroom is the only room in our sublet in which the landlady hasn’t seen fit to replace the aged parquet, which gives off gunshot creaks when I cross it to shut the door, which has a squeaky knob – oh, the humanity. I counted to four hundred while rocking the poor soul to sleep, tiptoed out, and retrieved the litre bottle of beer waiting for me in the fridge. (It wasn’t full.) Desperate times.

I think I’m at least five years behind the wired world, starting a blog. I’ve never been anything approximating trendy. But I don’t much care. One of my new year’s resolutions was to read more poetry, which I’ve shamefully neglected in recent years in favour of fiction. As a result, I feel like I’m deficient in some essential vitamin, have been deficient in it for long enough that I’m not quite sure what it’s supposed to fuel. As a secondary benefit, I’d like to get back into some kind of writing practice, which is something I enjoy, but have similarly let slide.

And so, inspired largely by Julia’s thoughtful posts, I toss my hat into the Poetry Wednesday ring. I know precisely nothing about the provenance of the tradition, but if I let that stop me, I’ll never get going. I don’t see myself posting much beyond Wednesdays (cf. aforementioned baby-rocking/beer coma), but that’s okay, too. In fact, I’m not even going to write much about this Robert Graves verse, except that I thought it reflective of the spirit with which I approach this small project: with love for the genre, without expectations of my efforts.


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