2020: Outro

What one poet learnt from 2020:  Preview DRAFT 1.x

  1. It is never too early for an outro.
  2. Rain is louder than thoughts, but only in the first four three minutes.
  3. Our Your shadow is still stuck to my wall, where it was cast, without care, that last weekend before the first lockdown.
  4. At some point, I turned this year into a convenient excuse. Like you did.
  5. Probability is inversely proportionate to the length of silence. Words however cannot change the outcome.
  6. If so much pain seems senseless, a little little happiness, by extension, is senseless too.
  7. Every existential equation is solved in the songs the birds made up when humans emptied the streets.
  8. The thing is, phone calls end. Like life. Like time.
  9. It doesn’t take that long for “every day felt like a year” to become “a year that felt like a day”. (It takes a day. Or a year.)
  10. Isolation is terrifying without a secret preoccupation. (Unless you are secretly preoccupied with the terrors of isolation, in which case the preoccupation is terrifyingly isolating.) (Why secret?)
  11. Being a poet during a pandemic is a test of brevity. How best can the endless void, the featureless grey wrapped sky, the road that bends into the horizon, the distance that is measured in everything other than distance — how best can the infinite be compressed into neat lines that in the seventh reading still make some sense.
  12. Size has swapped meaning. Big has turned small. Little is too much. Consider. The Universe. One word. Forever. Now.
  13. Mostly, just #11.
  14. Truly, just #4. But concise is always a verse, thirteen verses too long.

37 thoughts on “2020: Outro

  1. Love your clever use of the strikethrough. I love your expression ‘Probability is inversely proportionate to the length of silence’ My favourite is no.7 When we were in lockdown that’s the thing we noticed most.

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  2. I love this so much. The sound of how an “existential equation is solved in the songs the birds made up when humans emptied the streets” is stunning writing.

    I would love to copycat the structure and topic, if you don’t mind.

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  3. So much perfection! Loved the way the lines would send you down rabbit holes and back up to other lines and felt as if they were being written as they were read.

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  4. I adore this, the format and the insights listed. These two lines most: It doesn’t take that long for “every day felt like a year” to become “a year that felt like a day”. Your shadow is still stuck to my wall, where it was cast, without care, that last weekend before the first lockdown.

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  5. Wow! Love the progression of thought, the snide asides in the cross-outs, the qualifying parentheses. The directions to re-read, the mention of 7 times. I use the pandemic as an excuse. This is a new revelation. I want to spend more time figuring out what I am supposed to be doing, with a little less concern for brevity. It may take a long time. Everything may take a long time, and yet, life is too short to complete.

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    1. You’ve said it a lot better than I could, Susan. Everything may take a long time, yet life is too short. There’s so much of inward travel that has happened during the pandemic… I hope it takes us all to better places!

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  6. Rajani, I love what you did here! So many of these lines speak to me. And you’re so right, “It is never too early for an outro.” I’ll now go write my own 2020 Outro, having been greatly inspired by your piece. 🙂

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  7. In my sightless world, I find the songs of birds quite comforting, unseen but not unfelt, simply joyous for being, paying no attention to humanity’s turmoil, a reminder that life is much bigger than me.

    Your thoughts provoke my mind to deeper considerations. thank you.

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