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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Poetry Man

I know I'm conspicuous by my absence from Blogland right now, but that will change and hope you guys will bear with me.  In grieving for my mother, I'm trying to take the view that sadness and happiness are often intertwined, and feeling sad at the end of good times at least means that there WERE good times.

In addition to this there are other problems of a different kind, since as we all know, troubles often don't come singly.  I hope everything will be sorted out soon, and I'm grateful for the good times when they happen.   In one of the worst periods recently, I did something that  really helped. I talked to The Poetry Man.

He is called Joseph, I think.    You will find him of an evening near Embankment Station, by the Thames, quietly writing, thinking or reading, with his poems spread around him in brightly coloured envelopes, and little lanterns illuminating his patch of pavement.   Here he is.


He is extremely gentle and sincere, and if you pay him whatever you like, he will give or recite you one of his poems.

I bought one called THE ORDEAL, and I asked him to recite it to me. Its message of hope, delivered in his gentle voice and with great sincerity, in that busy London street, made me feel much better.  The Poetry Man showed me again the power of poetry.  So thank you  Joseph.  Next time I pass I will ask if that really is your name.

60 comments:

  1. Come what may, it's wonderful to hear from you today, and look forward to your next post. It comes with heavy heart these times of farewell, but like you say, it's the memories we cherish and keep our loved ones close at hand. Now for this wonderful poetry man, I wish I could find one of his cousins right here near me. Once as a school project we left random little poems and drawings in public places for someone/anyone to find! But he sitting waiting and reading....he's my hero for all time! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Hello Jenny:
    In addition to showing you the power of poetry, we suspect that The Poetry Man also demonstrated great humanity. An it is actions such as that which give one, and renew, one's hope in all things.

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  3. Ordeals do seem to come in bunches, don’t they? What a fantastic idea … the poetry man! The tone of the message and its delivery would be key I imagine and it sounds like Joseph has what it takes to soothe even a broken heart. My continued best wishes to you and yours. Your new header is wonderfully mysterious. :)

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  4. Wonderful post
    Maybe some day some of your blog readers will visit, and you all can go see the Poetry Man together.

    You may not be posting, but you're in my thoughts. Time away is a reality experience we all share.

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  5. Glad you enjoyed the poetry man.
    We are all here for you.

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  6. I've been away from my computer for a while and didn't know you'd lost your mom. My condolences. I'm glad you've found a measure of comfort in the words of The Poetry Man. The pain of losing a loved one never goes away but I pray that the pain will fade behind all of the wonderful memories you have of you dear Mom. Take care.

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  7. Boddhisatvas all over the place. Grief and joy walking hand in hand.

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  8. I have certainly missed your absence, and I'm sure I can speak for all your other blogging friends in saying that you've been in our thoughts. Joseph's message of hope is very touching.
    The process of grieving is long and complex. I lost my mother three years ago and never fully recovered, but things do get easier with time. Take care, and take comfort in all your cherished memories.

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  9. Yes, you do have memories of the good times to help you through this period...and what a sensible idea to visit the Poetry Man for a message of hope.

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  10. How marvelous that there is a Poetry Man! London never ceases to fascinate me with all it's fabulous architecture, sights, sounds ..... and humanity. I must look for him next time I am there. Many hugs to you in this sad time, the sun will shine again for you. Love your snowy header photograph, and the one of the Poetry Man. I'd call him a blessing. Minerva ~

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  11. I'm sorry that you are experiencing more than your fair share of sorrows at the moment Jenny. I couldn't agree more about them coming in a bunch. The Poetry Man with his patchwork of poems looks a very 'colourful' character and I'm glad he was able to bring you some solace.

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  12. How truly lovely.
    May many others reach out to you in times of sadness.
    My very best wishes to you and your family.

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  13. Glad to hear you're ok. Life gets complicated sometimes.

    Meeting The Poetry Man is one of life's "cosmic chuckles", sending you to the right place at the right time.

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  14. Sometimes , solace comes from unexpected places or from unknown people. Often, it comes from poetry, for me at least. No matter, the most important is that you could find someone who could help you to feel better in those hard times;
    Don't worry about blogging, we'll wait and always read you with pleasure when you'll come back.

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  15. This is awesome. I'm glad you were able to find some comfort.

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  16. Take all the time you need. And read poetry. Time and poetry - I can’t think of anything that will aid the healing process more.

    Perhaps I will visit the poetry man myself and then I’ll think of you and send healing thoughts.

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  17. Jenny, I lost my own mother so very long ago. It takes time. We all heal in different ways and at different speeds. That the time you need. I love the thought that somewhere under the same sky I gaze up into each evening is a "Poetry Man". Hugs to you. Bonnie

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  18. Hello Jenny, I've been thinking of you since I read your last post about your mother and I am glad you have such lovely memories of time spent with her, and also that the Poetry Man was able to give you a moment of comfort in the midst of all that is going on in your life right now. I pray there will be many more such moments for you and that things will sort themselves out in good time. Blessings to you. We'll be here whenever you are ready to get back to blogging. Love, Sara

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  19. Thinking of you and your family and hope all will be well with your other ordeals.
    Poetry and quotations can have a much greater impact during times of trial than maybe we give them credit for when all is well.

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  20. I am so touched by this post, Jenny. Your photos and description of the poetry man are poignant and beautiful. He sounds like a wonderful healing and precious soul. I hope his poem has helped you in your ordeal.

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  21. Aw Jenny, sorry you've been having a tough time. I'm glad you found the Poetry Man, and that his recital helped you. I remember writing lots of poetry after my Mum died 25 years ago, and it was therapuetic, both in the writing and in re-reading it over many years.
    Be gentle with yourself.
    Love your header photo, London with snow is beautiful.

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  22. Love your new blog heading photo, great capture of a snowy evening in London.
    I'm glad that you found some happiness during this bleak time of your life. It's hard to find joy during this time, take it when you can find it and enjoy even if it's for a moment.

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  23. Take whatever time you need, and know we will be waiting when you get back.

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  24. Grieving takes time; it can't be hurried. We understand if you are absent for a while. Please take care of yourself.

    The Poetry Man...what a kind person!

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  25. Beautiful . . . maybe Poetry Man is a link of support as you grieve. Loved this!

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  26. Hello, I'm glad to be able read your post again and come to know you are well even in your difficult term. The story of this poet made me want to visit London.:) Take time and stay warm.

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  27. How beautiful, gentle and touching. I can remember clearly feeling both sad grief and silly happiness in the wake of my Dad's death, often within the space of an hour. Go gentle on yourself and sending you many good, positive thoughts. (On another note, I love your new banner).

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  28. Jenny, this is, without doubt, one of the most moving posts I have read for a long time. I hope that things improve for you very quickly.

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  29. The Poetry Man certainly deserves to be known to a lot more people, he sounds like a great person who can really make a difference in someone's life.
    Thank you for telling us about him here, and I am glad he was able to make you feel a little better.

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  30. Hang in there, Jenny - and you know your way to Wiltshire if you need an escape. I make rubbish soup, but there are great cafes. Just let is all know what you need.

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  31. Jenny,you are going through a difficult time, I know that in my experience. Always nice to meet an intelligent and sincere person who will help you feel better!

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  32. It's amazing the way something like this can touch us when we need it the most. Whether it's poetry, a song, a piece of art, anything. I'm sorry that things are really tough for you right now, I hope they improve soon.

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  33. I was sorry to read about the death of your mother. I know how you feel, as it is not so long since I lost mine. Believe me, time is a great healer. You will feel better soon.

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  34. Hello Jenny

    I am so sorry for the lost of your beautiful mother. I shall keep you in my prayers.

    How beautiful to meet Joseph and have him recite his poem for you. It is always special to have the creator of a poem read it for you. The words have a richness.

    Wishing you strength

    Helen xx

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  35. Dear Jenny sometimes it seems to come like a monsoon, doesn't it -- first one really challenging thing followed by another or more. I'm so sorry you have to go through so much all at once. You are right -- if there hadn't been good times and love, it would be much easier in some ways -- but then there wouldn't have been good times and love, and you are wise to recognize that.

    I believe that there are angels all around us should we stop long enough to hear their words or experience their comfort. I suspect Joseph may indeed be one of those angels. He sounds like a good man.

    Please be gentle with yourself and remember that people don't grieve in a day or week or month or even a year. Everyone is different and even when you are out of the woods, don't be surprised if something (probably seemingly small and inconsequential) triggers a grief burst. Let it happen and mourn. And you WILL heal. Sending love and wishes for healing.

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  36. Thank you all for your kindly and comforting comments. I really do appreciate them.

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  37. Dear Jenny, I do so feel for you and your post is so brave and uplifting. I'm glad the poetry man helped lift the dark clouds a little. Jane xx

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  38. My thoughts are with you dear Jenny in your difficult times.

    I am sure Joseph would recognise kindness in you as I clearly see in your posts and his poem was a comfort.

    Kind regards

    Anna

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  39. I know that area so well (round Villiers St etc) but have never seen him before. I will keep an eye out from now onwards - thanks for the tip off.

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  40. The Poetry Man reached your soul, no? His gentle humanity is what you need just now...

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  41. What a little gem is Joseph! Be gentle with yourself - your dear Mum and her memory need you most at this time. And I would think you need freedom and space and a little time to completely focus your energies into grieving and honouring this special and wonderful woman who gave so much to you.
    Hugs
    Rose

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  42. What a sweet guy. I don't remember him being there when I lived in London. How lovely that his poetry is so comforting, presumably not just to you but to the many others who encounter him. And I love the way he puts his poems in brightly coloured envelopes.

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  43. Dear Jenny,

    I truly feel for you and your family. Grieving takes so many forms -- I saw it within my own family. I think we all exhibited it in bizarre ways. Most of all, it takes a long, long time. Have you ever read Joan Didion's "Year of Magical Thinking?" It's her journey through grief written in very simple but powerful prose. Just know that many of us understand your silence.

    It's wonderful of you to surface though and share this bit about the Poetry man. Poetry carried me through my grief. In fact, it bonded me to my mom during her final days. I read a lot of poetry to her by her bedside. It was sort of full circle, as she used to read me poetry by my bedside when I was a very little girl. Your Poetry Man is a gift in the neighborhood. I wish I could encounter a lonely poet by the roadside here too.

    - Jenny

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  44. Sending good thoughts your way across the miles. I'm glad you found solace with the poetry man.

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  45. An angel of sorts, bringing his unique blessings. You must have been guided to him by an unseen hand to receive solace and reconnect you with the healing power of poetry.

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  46. Jenny, I hope you are getting on top of your difficulties now. Your story about the Poetry Man was interesting. And good for him for doing what he does. - Dave

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  47. Jenny,
    Reading what you mentioned about him, for me he looked like healing Buddha who heals and soothes our pain physically and mentally. Even though it is freezing-cold, the place around him must be warm. Someday I hope I will go to see him and ask for a poem.
    keiko

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  48. Une très belle expérience cette poésie dans la rue...

    Pierre

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  49. ha i wonder if i have seen my future through this...smiles....poetry man...i would love to get a chance to meet him...

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  50. What a moving piece of writing. Anyone who can write like you can will find the strength to get through the difficult times.

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  51. Well, I hope that all will become easier soon, Jenny. I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad that you found a bit of comfort thanks to Joseph poem. Take care.

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  52. i am sorry about your mom-----i agree about happy and sad mixing----what a beautiful thing this poetry man is doing--blessings to you <3

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  53. I will not be able to hear The Poetry Man as I live so far away and rarely come to London but when I do I will look for him as and when. Poetry is a real help both reading and writing a bit of both whenever it helps.

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  54. Minds quite sympathize and understand; hearts are with you. thanks for sharing this meaningful post.


    Aloha from Honolulu,
    Comfort Spiral
    ~ > < } } ( ° >

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  55. Thanks for reading my poetry I found your comment on 'winter woodland'.

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  56. Jenny my heart goes out to you at this time, I myself have been having difficulty finding time to blog due to my husbands ill health. It was lovely to hear from you recently and also to call by and catch up here with your recent posts. Take Care.

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  57. Thank you for the further nice comments, it is so touching and nice to know that there are warm hearts out there. I'm now getting around to commenting on blogs again and hope to rejoin the blogosphere community again more regularly!

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  58. Hello, Jenny. So sorry to hear about your loss. It is very difficult, I know.

    I'm glad you dropped by my blog. I've been very remiss of late (well, of most of last year), so it is encouraging to have a new visitor.

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  59. So sorry to hear about your mum and the fact that other troubles have beset you too. I will look out for the 'Poetry Man' next time we are in London - what a lovely thing to do for people.

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  60. People such as Joseph (did it turn out to be his real name?) are a treasure one encounters while living in a big city. While on our recent trip to New York, we saw a man in the subway (tube, underground) with a chair and table set up, selling his poems, and he had a sign saying "New York Times published poet will compose a poem for you - $1". We were somewhat in a hurry, so we passed him by without availing ourselves of his services. I've regretted that ever since.

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