Subscribe: by Email | in Reader

Sometimes -- Sheenagh Pugh

An antidote of sorts to last week's poems on depression:
(Poem #874) 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 intentions 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.
-- Sheenagh Pugh
[Commentary from the Poet]

I wasn't ever going to put this on my site, because I'm sick of it. But I
still get a lot of email asking for information about it so perhaps this
will save time! Besides, it appears on a lot of people's web sites,
generally misquoted - at least this will be as it's meant to read. I wrote
it back in the eighties and it appeared in my Selected Poems, which has
recently been reprinted by Seren, whom you can contact at.

It was then included in Poems on the Underground and has since appeared on
the trams of Helsinki and the Metro in St Petersburg (there's a good Russian
translation on Vitali Ashkinazi's web site. Actually I prefer Vitali's
version to the original and one day I might translate it back).

It featured in a BBC Radio 4 programme called The Secret Life of Poems. It
has been used by several charities and political organisations, including
Charter 88 (for refugees); it has been read during the Irish peace
negotiations and in the South African parliament, has been set to music by
several people and quoted in other books (most lately appearing in the
autobiography of the man in the white suit, Martin Bell).

Despite all this, it wasn't political, nor is it about depression, though a
lot of clinically depressed people think it is. It isn't even basically very
optimistic. It was originally written about a sportsman who had a drug
problem and it expressed the hope that he might eventually get over it -
because things do go right sometimes, but not very often... But it isn't
anywhere near skilful or subtle enough and I would cheerfully disown it, if
people didn't now and then write to me saying it had helped them. By the
way, you might also care to know that I originally wrote "the sun will
sometimes melt a field of snow" (the sportsman's drug of choice was
cocaine). But I mistyped "sorrow" for "snow" and then decided I liked that
better. I believe in letting the keyboard join in the creative process now
and then. Anyway, here's the text, and if you like it, I'm pleased for you,
but I'd be more pleased if you liked something else better!

        -- Sheenagh Pugh,
[broken link]

[Commentary from Me]

This is the sort of poem that puts a gleam into the eyes of manufacturers of
greeting-cards everywhere <grin>.

No, I take that back. The fact that commercialization often cheapens true
emotion should not be used to denigrate the emotion itself. And the poem
_is_ a good one: sincere, honest, and more than a little bit touching. Not
overly subtle (the poet herself deprecates it for this reason), but it
doesn't have to be; it says what it wants to say beautifully and well. Who
could ask for more?



Sheenagh Pugh has a website, [broken link]
We've run one poem of hers before, "The Beautiful Lie". It's archived at
poem #792

105 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Keith Jones said...

Dear Sheenagh, my only comment is that it is, to me, the most lovely
short poem that I have ever read. All your comments apart, it has
encouraged me and helped me in a way that few other words (written or
spoken) have. Please never remove it. You may tire of it, but
countless thousands out here still enjoy it, and in an attempt to help
others, often (mis)quote it!! Thank you for helping me. Yours Keith

syd said...

sometimes we fall short and fail, other times we will find deep inside the courage that hids, its allways sometimes , its what we are
thankyou for this poem it explains a lot

Cheryl.Cartlidge said...

Sometimes ... the world needs the soothing ministrations of a simple,
uncomplicated poem; like an unsubtle, rough cat's tongue can help to heal
its wounds.

This poem first came to my attention on the London Underground. I liked it
for its directness, its non-cryptic, tentative and kind offer of comfort.

Sheenagh, despite your being 'over it', please don't ever disown it; be
glad I/we like it for what it is.

Cheryl Cartlidge

Anonymous said...


You do youself a real dis-service in denegrating this lovely peice of work. Not everything needs to be be super-subtle, deep and aesthetic. I chosse this to be read at my wedding 15 years ago becuase the melting of the fieild of sorrow was precisely what my wife had done for me. 15 years on, and she still does it day by day, and your peom still articlates this better than anything else I've read.

Anonymous said...

What is this thing with poets that get all artistic hissy fit about poems that get popular. If you don't want Sometimes to be judged as a measure of your poetry then either (1) write someting better, that will overtake it. In the end it's your audience that judge which is your best work, and they choose Sometimes. or
(2) Stop publishing your work. If you want to be your own private judge of which poem is best, don't share it. I bet you still take the buckets of royalties that Sometimes brings in!
Get over youself, and be thankful for the great response so many people have to a lovely poem.

Anonymous said...

Hi ! We have just studied this poem.
I am from St David's in South Africa. Sheenagh, you must please try to like it because it has helped people, who have been going through alot and have been depressed. The world is a difficult place and lots of sin happens but if everyone could read this poem their life would be better. This poem will inspire people and will go places.

فيس بوك said...

well work great thanks

generic viagra said...

I don't know... for me, a good poem is the one that makes images in your head, which is Formalistic perspective of the Prague Circle... this poem lack of it!

388a Sbobet Casino said...

Great post! I?m just starting out in community management/marketing media and trying to learn how to do it well - resources like this article are incredibly helpful. As our company is based in the US, it?s all a bit new to us. The example above is something that I worry about as well, how to show your own genuine enthusiasm and share the fact that your product is useful in that case, hungry ghost festival 2011 Malaysia travel tips holiday tips Indonesia holiday

Anonymous said...

This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. Youve got a design here thats not too flashy, but makes a statement as big as what youre saying. Great job, indeed. Agen Bola Bola Tangkas

discount jerseys said...

ease never remove it. You may tire of it, but
countless thousands out here still enjoy it, and in an attempt to help
others, often (mis)quote it!! Thank you for helping me.

Ideas de negocios said...

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, but I am firmly convinced of this and love to learn more about the subject. If possible, acquire knowledge, would you update your blog with more information? It is very helpful to me

Anonymous said...

I don't know when exactly this poem was published. I didn't even know what it was about till I read this. I thought it was a poem of hope and positive thinking, I guess I thought wrong with the majority of the people that read it. If we didn't get told it was about a sportsman we could have never guessed. When I first read it, I was practising past papers for my English exam. Lady the only thing you got to hate yourselves for is not the fact that you did not make your poem clear enough for your audience but the fact that you sold it to a English GCSE exam board, now poor teenagers around the world like me have to wtite two or three pages analysis on your poem only to find out later that we are all wrong. Even when we are wrong zbout the content, ideas and atmosphere the poem is creating;we still get As and A*s. Oh life ...
We all know you secretly love your poem. One great mistake :)

Anonymous said...

It just shows everything we have to tirelessly over analyse is all a joke. Some of the over-analytical pretencious sods in my class would marvel at the fact that a poem that has helped so many people was infact partly derived from the poets smugness of a typo. Snow...sarrow, it's all bollocks. Thus proven. Thanks Sheenagh for your diservice to teenagers studying your poems and people with depression. I also read that the comptemporary of poems doesn't make her tick. Well I guess you don't make me tick!

Anonymous said...

this poor layman's writings are in competition with your professional poem...

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms Pugh - Just think about how much we all need a bit of cheer. If we didn't, your poem would not have permeated our lives. For you it may be somehing you feel you could have done better.... But for us it is a thought and a feeling that we desperately need. Thank you for it. Anon.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this was a guardian angel speaking through you to the rest of us. Please don't resent that - feel honoured to have been so used.

Anonymous said...

Heard your poem read on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday last. The commentatory told your reason for writing it. Really liked this explanation and like your honesty. Work in a charitable counselling service and see many people struggling with their lives, particularly during these difficult times. I am going to read out your poem in class tomorrow and will tell your honest account of why you wrote it. Also going to look at some of your other poetry. Thanks a million.

Anonymous said...

My sister-in-law sent this to me after our house burned down and it gave us a lift. I love the tentative hope, Patience Strong it is NOT. According to my husband the Swedes have a word 'hopas' that means'its unlikely but I hope it might be'! That seems to be the spirit - something that is more akin to our taste for irony and no sentimentality.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sheena, I am almost 60 and have loved poetry all my life. I came across 'Sometimes' in a book 'Poem for the Day 2'a few months before my mother died. She had been through a lot, both physically and mentally. We had both been on peace and justice marches together and this poem echoed through our lives like no other. It is one of my all time favourites, so I can only say thank you for writing it - whatever it was originally about it applies to so many situations as all great art does.

Anonymous said...

This whole thing is hilarious, but the Anon October 7, 2010 6:11 post is right on the money!

Anonymous said...

Dear Sheenagh,
I first encountered your poem in a book written by the actress Sheila Hancock and the poem was attributed to Sylvia Plath.I failed to find the poem in her published works,but was delighted to stumble across this site and get your take on the poem particularly the providential slip sorrow for snow.It is helpful to understand the poetic impulse that the poet feels the need to express at the time of the poetical creation

Robyn said...

I came across this poem as a I was doing research in the library late the night before I was to fly home to Chicago to cast my vote in the election of 2008. I read it that night and burst into tears. Then I printed it and brought it with me, in my wallet, to Grant Park, Chicago, where Obama gave his victory speech that night. When I found it--when the outcome of the election was still uncertain--it seemed like a good luck talisman, one badly needed after 8 relentless years of Bush, at the beginning of which our imaginations had failed us as to how bad things could really get.

And maybe I don't feel about Obama as I did that night, but this poem still feels the same--frank and sincere in the face of the terrible odds for progress.

So that's one path this poem has travelled. I can see why you feel as you do about it, but I think it's really just the kind of poem that finds people when they need it. That definitely happened for me. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I understand that it might not be your most skilful work, but it's obviously helped a lot of people. Sometimes it doesn't matter what a poem was "originally about" - especially since it's not like this poem mentions athletes, or any other specifically tailored group. Let people take comfort from it and enjoy it for what it is.

Anonymous said...

Great poem Sheenagh. You have some nice writing skills.

Chinese New Year 春节 2013

Paul said...

I don't get the "anywhere skilful enough" remark -- I find the imperfect rhymes interesting and evocative, a kind of subterranean momentum that impels the piece forward without distracting the reader from the content.

Space Matters Real Estates said...

Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return. Plots for sale in Hyderabad
Plots for sale in Banjara Hills
Plots for sale in Jubilee Hills
Plots for sale in Manikonda
Plots for sale in Madhapur
Plots for sale in kondapur
Plots for sale in Gachibowli
Plots for sale in Kukatpally

Anonymous said...

My brother recommended I may like this web site.
He used to be totally right. This put up truly made my day.
You cann't believe just how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thank you!

Feel free to surf to my web page :: calories walking
Also see my site :: calorie burn calculator

Anonymous said...

I've read several good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you place to make this kind of wonderful informative web site.

Feel free to surf to my site ... perfect waist to hip ratio

Anonymous said...

If some one desires expert view concerning running a
blog then i propose him/her to go to see this web site, Keep up the nice job.

Here is my web-site

Anonymous said...

Hey! I'm at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the excellent work!

my web site :: click here

Anonymous said...

It's awesome in support of me to have a website, which is beneficial in support of my knowledge. thanks admin

my web-site Email Console

Anonymous said...

An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto
a friend who has been conducting a little research on this.
And he in fact ordered me lunch simply because I found it for him.
.. lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!

! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this topic here on your blog.

My webpage windows registry cleaner

Anonymous said...

I am sure this article has touched all the internet users, its really
really pleasant piece of writing on building up new blog.

Also visit my webpage

Anonymous said...

I've been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.

Feel free to surf to my website -

Game Texas Poker said...

This web site is really a walk-through for all of the info you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll definitely discover it…. Judi Poker Online

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ms Pugh. Your poem startled me into realising that yes, life can be tough, but sometimes, just sometimes, it is not. Preparing to move home soon and can't wait to have this poem beautifully framed and displayed in my living room. Sometimes...

Anonymous said...

First saw this on a wall in a convalescent's home where I was visiting in a professional capacity and wasted no time in making it 'mine'! This is the new 'Footprints', the new serendipity prayer, and the new home sweet home sampler. Such comfort, hope and optimism! Thank you Sheenagh Pugh.

Crystal X said...

I like what you guys are up also. Such intelligent work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll.
Tips mengobati keputihan
Tips mengobati gatal pada vagina
Tips alami kulit bebas jerawat

Fifi Nasa said...

This is quite wonderful post. The article affects a lot of urgent challenges of our society. We can not be indifferent to these.
Crystal X
Efek Pemakaian Crystal X
Royal Jelly

Unknown said...

Thanks for the sharing, this blog is very intersting. Hotel Cleaning Services | WOMEN'S FASHION PRODUCTS | It's very informarmative and very knowladgeable blog.

Sheenagh Pugh said...

Jeez, the hollow laughter..." I bet you still take the buckets of royalties that Sometimes brings in!" "the fact that you sold it to a GCSE board"

For the information of all you know-alls, GCSE boards are exempt from copyright, they can and do use anyone's work without asking pr paying. As for "royalties", most others who reprint poems don't bother asking or paying either. If they do pay, it'll be about £20 if you're lucky, and it happens maybe once or twice a year. Yeah, rolling in it, that's me... Maybe check your facts next time?

blog remaja indonesia said...

Thank you for your very nice article, do not forget to read my articles also andalangue provide such kind words,gambar lucu , kata kata cinta are deliberately presented to the loyal readers.

Program Studi Ilmu Administrasi Negara said...

Nice , I Read this article is greate and nice blog , Wellcome to this admin blog's .. by. Cipto junaedy said...

An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me lunch simply because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this subject here on your web site.

Unknown said...

Hello, i'm Toko Glucoberry !! Thank you very much for sharing this information that very very helpful and very useful Manfaat Coklat untuk Kecantikan Kulit Obat Kardiomegali
I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information?
Cara Menyembuhkan Kardiomiopati Cara Menurunkan Berat Badan

Agus Putra said...

Pada kesempatan ini saya akan menjelaskan Apa itu Manfaat Payudara Kecil dan Bagaimana Cara Memperbesar Ukuran Payudara..? payudara kecil sebenarnya sangat menguntungkan bagi wanita karena dapat member kebebasan wanita untuk melakukan berbagai macam kegitana tanpa harus risi karena payudara yang tergesek atau tersentuh. Selain itu dalam bidang fashion wanita tersebut dapat diuntungkan karena bisa memakai hamper semua jenis baju dan bra. Namun bila ingin menambah sedikit atau banyak ukurang payudara. Kita dapat melakukan Olahraga Untuk besarkan Payudara seperti push up, pull up, dll. Selain itu anda juga dapat menggunakan Ayla Breast Care Untuk Besarkan Payudara . Cream ini bisa mempercepat pertumbuhan payudara menjadi lebih kencang dan besar. Cara ini bisa nda kombinasikan.
Selain dari penampilan bagian dalam tentu harus dirawat bukan Cara perawatan Vagina yang Benar sangatlah penting agar daerah intim tidak terserang penyakit seperti keputihan, gatal” dan bau tidak sedap. Bahkan Kanker Serviks . Namun tidak perlu panic kini Cara Mencagah Kanker Serviks sudah ada. Seperti mengkonsumsi makanan melakukan perawatan rutin dan menggunakan Crystal X . Manfaat Crystal X Atasi Keputihan dan juga kanker serviks sudah terbukti selain itu Efek Samping Crystal X merupakan efek positif yaitu efek penyemubuhan. Demikian dan terimakasih

Unknown said...

You're in point of fact a just right webmaster. The website loading speed is amazing. It kind of feels that you're doing any distinctive trick.
Crystal X Mengobati keputihan dan Merapatkan Vagina
Crystal X Aman For Women
Obat Keputihan Herbal dan Agar Cepat Hamil
Moreskin Skin Care Efek Collaskin
Jual Cream Pembesar Payudara Herbal Aman

Anonymous said...

Seberat apapun beban masalah yang kamu hadapi saat ini, percayalah bahwa semua itu tidak pernah melebihi batas kemampuan kamu.

Unknown said...

Rangka Atap Baja said...

Sharing Bagi anda yang sedang mencari Rangka Atap Baja Ringan di Jakarta, Baik di wilayah Jakarta pusat, Jakarta Barat, Jakarta Utara, Jakarta Timur, Jakarta Selatan. jadi anda tidak usah bingung lagi jika ingin memasang baja ringan dan mencari harga termurah di wilayah jakarta dan sekitarnya.
karena kamilah jawaban dari kebingungan yang anda rasakan.

Kanopi Baja Ringan Bekasi

Anonymous said...

Dear Sheena,
I am a retired English teacher who in my spare time have won prizes for short stories. I hate much modern poetry because it is obscure, "precious", and undisciplined. The average working-class adult doesn't have time to puzzle out what the poet is trying to communicate, and that is why I -- and countless others-- like your poem "Sometimes": through its honest ambiguity and tentativeness, it's not hard to understand.

Playing with language for prismatic effects is fine in its place; but if we want people to approach reading poetry they way they read a newspaper or novel, (--do we?) poets have to judge their audience, and "play fair" with language; the average person wants a poem to rhyme or have some sort of easily perceivable structure, form, or cadence, and that's why the average educated reader is disappointed and even contemptuous of much modern poetry. I wish newspapers would make an arrangement to have, on their "crossword pages" (because people there take time to enjoy pondering words) three short poems per day, in the "easy" "intermediate" and "difficult" categories with short clues in case there are arcane metaphors our current unfit-for-propose school system has not prepared the populace to parse. In this way perhaps poetry might gain wider popular appreciation.

Ashish said...

Thank you for awesome Article Mate. It if truth be told used to be an amusement account it. Also read: Download gbwhatsapp

priyanka said...

kingroot apk
kingroot download
kingroot app download
Every smartphone brand involved in producing Android device has control over some restrictions.

prmrtjs said...

THnk you for share Watch Dogs 2 Free Download for pC

Puremelda said...

Our declaration to providing the best customer experience when it comes to the best custom essay writing service are guided by these principles we entrench daily in our delivery for the best online essay writing service firm.

meldaresearch said...

One should know which company has the best writers whose essay is free from grammatical errors. Grammatical errors reduce the quality of a custom paper especially those who want to buy nursing papers online and those seeking for custom assignment services.

Puremelda said...

Through our exceptional Information Technology Writing Service, we have helped thousands who are stuck with their assignments. Our company offers the Psychology Writing Service to the clients.

Florahmelda said...

Students seek professional Custom Papers Writing assistance from Top Rated Term Papers Writingcompany to accomplish any type of essay assigned to them. When you request for urgent Professional Custom Research Paper, they strive to meet your professors’ requirements.

spotifypremiumfree said...

Very much impressed with this post.
Please do find the latest Spotify

Spotify Premium apk

All About Database said...

Are you looking for the best free company data then we are providing the best contact database. We also provide marketing automation and crm software. If you are interested, then please contact us for detailed information.

watchwrestling said...

thnx for awesome post sir, can you plz help me out with the watch wrestling online and how to use it?

assignmentauthors said...

We shall use go-daddy as it is well known by the majority and it will be used to ensure that those who have subscribed to the site receive notifications promptly and any other information that is deemed necessary by the organizations. assignment expert

Post a Comment