I found John Burnside‘s ‘A Private Life’ in a poetry magazine some years ago. I wasn’t much interested in the magazine. This is different from saying I wasn’t interested in the poems inside it.
I was undergoing one of my periodic bouts of poetry exhaustion and was feeling rather tired of the whole business, the circus, the who-said-what-about-whom of it all. I felt I wanted to crawl into a hole and cry for a week. Or a year, or however long it took.
Then I opened the page and there was ‘A Private Life’.
I felt immediately as I do with all poems I love that it had been written just for me at that moment, as a kind of telepathic letter or predictive text of healing.
I still get a very real thrill from the fact that it comprises two simple sentences (‘I want to drive…’ and ‘I…
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