The received wisdom is that we should bottle special moments and so I have been dutifully doing this for years: the massive birth and death ones, the tiny (how the sun on the sea in Kalkan makes the water look a million mirrors deep), the fleeting joy of dancing in the kitchen to Cher while cooking on a Sunday evening, the wonder of being in love, loved.
However, last night my bottle exploded and it was truly magnificent!
What caused this explosion? Well, I was at the amazing Anne-Marie Fyfe’s Coffee-House Poetry at The Troubadour and Mark Doty read some poems and talked about poetry and suddenly it happened.
Like Dickinson I felt ‘physically as if the top of my head were taken off’ and I knew then that that there, what I was experiencing then at that moment, was poetry. It wasn’t just the rightness of the words, their music and how they stretched forward to give meaning to the unsayable, but it was also the permission the poetry gave for me, as a poet, to take the special moments I had so safely stored and which by then were scattered around me like a thousand perfect diamonds and pick up each one in turn, examine it and, if I can, write about it someday.
I felt so free driving away afterwards, I thought this must be what flying is. Thank you also to the music of Josh Groban, which saw me home.
Pulling into my driveway, I felt bruised but exultant. If I had still had a bottle, the old me would store that particular moment in it, but I don’t so I didn’t, and this small fact is a true wonder!