#15: Sometimes Everything Works out Fine!


#15: Sometimes – Everything Works out Fine!

It is surprising it has taken me so long to introduce this poem into a blog about inspiration! It is one of the most direct pick-me-up poems imaginable.

Sometimes

Sometimes things don't go, after all, 
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail, 
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war; 
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss, sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.

The poet who created this poem no longer wishes to be acknowledged as its writer, and I respect that wish.

Direct, yes, and consider how indirect most poetry is.  Very few poems write as straight from the shoulder as this one. The intent of many poems may be uplifting as we are finding each week, but generally they have their effect in a roundabout way, as if tip-toeing through a mine-field. Plenty of different interpretations available.

Not this one! Sometimes leaves nothing to the imagination. It selects about ten archetypal life-scenes of failure and reverses them. A crop of muscadel grapes avoids the frost, a man aims high and succeeds, war is not declared, people donate money to a worthy cause, sometimes even miracles happen.

To be confronted by the opposite to an everyday selection of the front pages of newspapers all over the world and online is a shock, so unaccustomed are we to reading articles of good news.

Will media always emphasize the sensational to sell copy? I suppose the answer must be yes, if a profit motive exists behind the publication of media outlets. But as sources of news and opinion based on current events become more diversified and accessible across the internet, we may find publication of good news stories, positively uplifting accounts and interpretations of events, becoming more numerous. 

It’s started already; I know of a few. My favourite is www.futurecrunch.com.au  - a group of people in Australia who trawl the globe’s publications and ‘explore what’s happening on the frontiers of science and technology, … [with] an intelligent, courageous optimism about the future’. If you feel a kinship with the poem Sometimes, you really should subscribe to their bi-weekly email, at the least.

There may be something about lesson learning here. We learn more when we fail the first time, perhaps even the second and third times. Perhaps more. Is it a bad thing to be reminded of one’s own and other’s failures? Even publicly humiliated and sensationalized in newspapers? The ancient Greek tragedians wrote about instances of chance or chosen outcomes that caused sometimes almost untellable stories (just for one: Medea murdered her children in revenge on Jason, her faithless husband). Yet, however bleak, these tragedies always sought to extract a crystal of learning, a smidgeon of ‘head-in-that-direction’.

There are no obvious lessons from failures in the lines of the poem Sometimes – except the one we may all resonate with now. The lesson of positivism, of ‘no matter how dark, the dawn will come’. So, I for one will regularly read Sometimes, simply to remind myself.

Ian Widdop
Johannesburg
September 13, 2019

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