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Sometimes it Happens -- Brian Patten

Guest poem sent in by Nandini K. Moorthy
(Poem #1084) Sometimes it Happens
 And sometimes it happens that you are friends and then
 You are not friends,
 And friendship has passed.
 And whole days are lost and among them
 A fountain empties itself.

 And sometimes it happens that you are loved and then
 You are not loved,
 And love is past.
 And whole days are lost and among them
 A fountain empties itself into the grass.

 And sometimes you want to speak to her and then
 You do not want to speak,
 Then the opportunity has passed.
 Your dreams flare up, they suddenly vanish.

 And also it happens that there is nowhere to go and then
 There is somewhere to go,
 Then you have bypassed.
 And the years flare up and are gone,
 Quicker than a minute.

 So you have nothing.
 You wonder if these things matter and then
 As soon you begin to wonder if these things matter
 They cease to matter,
 And caring is past.
 And a fountain empties itself into the grass.
-- Brian Patten
Its remarkable the way Patten has wrapped the philosophy of friendship and the
transitions that comes with it in this poem. There seems so much lightness and
rhythm in the flow of lines. So deceptively uncomplicated, yet strikingly
evocative. The capture of conflicting emotions seems plain and detached, yet
echoes the underlying  pain. The constant resonance of "A fountain empties
itself" probably marks the passage of time or feelings itself. The poem
evokes a feeling of vulnerability, a tinge of sadness and above all
Patten at his best.


39 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Shine Kannikkatt said...

I like the 'vulnerability' evident in this and others like Teasdale's works.
Is there a category to bunch such works together? I mean poems which reminds
us of the preciousness of life / small things which does have big impacts
and 'longing' etc? Dunno if am making any sense here..


shine kannikkatt

Rick Molloy said...


I did not find a vulgarity in this poem. I found a sadness; which is what I
always do in Patten's poems. There is something about those Liverpool poets
from the sixties, with their grasp of life and the changing balance that it
offered, that constantly draws me back to their poems. Mitchell, McGoufgh
and Patten were the kings of poerty in that age.And so they remain. If you
want to experience a really good Liverpool poem from that era, then look up
'Armada' by Brian Patten. I hope you find it both moving and interesting.


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