National Poetry Day + One

I intended to write yesterday, but ‘other’ events got in the way. I felt sad as for the last twelve years, I’ve been teaching a writing class when it was National Poetry Day, and have always given it a mention, but this year I’ve had to cancel my classes.

But I was thinking about appointments. For many of us, our lives are governed by appointments – work-related appointments, dentist, doctor, hairdresser, meetings. Dates? Appointments for love! We are continually running to a schedule.

Image result for appointments

Suddenly a lot of the more interesting appointments have stopped for me, and now my appointments seems to be all medically related – one yesterday, and two this afternoon for starters. And sadly, it’s not just the time spent actually at the appointment, but travelling to it, finding a parking space, and then waiting, endless waiting which saps the mind and body of any energy or joy.

Yesterday, during one of these long waiting spells, my dazed mind was drifting over thoughts of appointments and it being National Poetry Day, and I half-remembered a poem I used to love when I was teaching Thomas Hardy. Last night I looked it up and found I enjoyed it as much as ever. Here it is:

A Broken Appointment
By Thomas Hardy
You did not come,
And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb,—
Yet less for loss of your dear presence there
Than that I thus found lacking in your make
That high compassion which can overbear
Reluctance for pure lovingkindness’ sake
Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum,
You did not come.
You love not me,
And love alone can lend you loyalty;
–I know and knew it. But, unto the store
Of human deeds divine in all but name,
Was it not worth a little hour or more
To add yet this: Once you, a woman, came
To soothe a time-torn man; even though it be
You love not me?
I think it’s so poignant, especially the line ‘as the hope-hour stroked its sum,’. Haven’t we all experienced that realisation – the phone call, the letter/email, the loved one, the longed-for moment is not going to come.
If waiting can remind me of such jewels, perhaps it’s not so bad after all!
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  1. Debbie Young says:

    Thank you for sharing this lovely poem, Lindsay, and sorry you’re having to go through all these appointments. Thank goodness for the power of books, poetry and reading to transport us from such places, and these days the ease with which we can slip loaded ereaders and smartphones into our bags to help erode the endless waiting. Knowing more poetry by heart would be handy too, to draw on whenever caught without a book or ebook to hand. I think I might make learning my favourite poems off by heart a new year resolution for 2017!


  2. Lynne Nugent says:

    A lovely poem and hoping your appointments are bearable. Sending love and hope to you for the coming endurances x

  3. Lindsay says:

    Thank you, Debbie & Lynne. I’m glad you like the poem, and thanks for the supportive words.

  4. Polly says:

    A lovely reminder about a wonderful poem – hope the appointments went better than anticipated – with love xx

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