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Poetry As Food for the Soul

Updated: Oct 24, 2022


At a dinner gathering recently my friend, Janice, offered us this poem by the Irish poet, Padraig O’Tuama. We were all taken by it and went around the table talking about what line resonated the most for us. You could take in this poem in that way. Read it slowly the first time, just to get the gist of it. Then read it again slowly letting it sink into you. Poet Phyllis Cole-Dai gives these suggestions after reading any poem. “Take a breath after reading it. Just pause. Don’t try to analyze it or decide if you like it or not. Don’t judge it. Don’t rush away from it. Just let it resonate like the sounding of a bell, until it finishes with you.”


FACTS OF LIFE. By Padraig O’Tuama


That you were born and you will die. That you will sometimes love enough and sometimes not. That you will lie if only to yourself. That you will get tired. That you will learn most from the situations you did not choose. That there will be some things that move you more than you can say. That you will live that you must be loved. That you will avoid questions most urgently in need of your attention. That you began as the fusion of a sperm and an egg of two people who once were strangers and may well still be. That life isn’t fair. That life is sometimes good and sometimes better than good. That life is often not so good. That life is real and if you can survive it, well, survive it well with love and art and meaning given where meaning’s scarce. That you will learn to live with regret. That you will learn to live with respect. That the structures that constrict you may not be permanently constraining. That you will probably be okay. That you must accept change before you die but you will die anyway. So you might as well live and you might as well love. You might as well love. You might as well love.


O’Tuama has a new collection of poetry coming out in December. In it, he will offer the poems of others along with his commentary on each poem. You might like to check out his podcast. (I love his Irish accent! And the way he treats poetry with humor, dignity and honesty.). Click HERE for a link.



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