While on my way home from a road trip to Cape Breton yesterday, I listened to an espisode of “The Wintering Sessions” hosted by Katherine May. In this episode, May interviews the poet Maggie Smith during which Smith’s poem “Good Bones,” was mentioned more than once. This morning I read it for the first time.
Addendum: May is the author of the acclaimed book “Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times.”
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.