Poetry & Songs

Last week I relied on poetry to get me through creeping despair. This week another poem lifted my spirit. Driving in the car I heard the most gorgeous poem on Start The Week. It was called In Wales Wanting To Be Italian and was recited by its author, the poet Imtiaz Dharker. (You can hear it here, at about the 26 minute mark, but I don’t know how long it will stay on the website.)

I don’t read enough poetry, but when I got home, I googled the poem and promptly ordered the book of poetry in which it appears.

Here’s an excerpt:

Is there a name for that thing you do when you’re young?
There must be a word for it in some language, probably German…
What is that called ?
Being sixteen  in Wales, longing to be Italian
To be able to say aloud without embarrassment “Bella, bella”
Lounge by a vespa with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth
And wear impossibly pointed shoes.

And of course, since last week I’ve been listening to another great poet, Leonard Cohen. When I was an angsty seventeen year old, he was a constant companion. This song has been covered so many times, but no version is better than KD Lang’s. And I love the moment she shares with Leonard Cohen at the end. Enjoy.



11 thoughts on “Poetry & Songs

  1. Leonard Cohen was the most wonderful singer and poet. A few years ago he came to Kingston and my son Barry took me to hear him. He kept the audience entertained for two hours. The morning after he passed away I turned on CBC and one of his favorites ‘Closing Time’ was playing. Rest in peace Leonard.Annie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So I listened to the poem. I love how she makes up German words for “that thing you do when you’re young” And the bit about living in Glasgow, wanting to be French “to shrug and pout”


  3. Wonderful poem. Nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia. She captures so well those years of youth when you are trying to figure it all out and it all seems so overwhelming and boring at the same time. I could absolutely relate to her comments by way of introduction – how she felt growing up in Glasgow that “real life was happening somewhere else…somewhere I was not”. Now that I am living my “real life”, I realize I wasn’t missing as much as I feared I was.


    • So you listened to the podcast? Yes she was wonderful.Her poetry book arrived and I’ve just started to dip into it. There’s one about her now deceased English husband that I think is brilliant, maybe because I’m a expat.. I’ll take a picture of it and send it to you.


  4. Love this. I’ve been listening to Kate McKinnon’s SNL version the past week or so, finding it both therapeutic and depressing… This is simply lovely.

    Also, I apparently had an old outdated link for your blog. So, I am just getting caught up on lots of missed posts. So happy to find them! x0


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