Today, I have returned to the very excellent Brighton poet Tommy Sissons. He’s a poet, often called a performance poet because of his extensive video work, who deals mostly with mortality through working class eyes.
In his poem Elegy for the young we can see how Elegy and Eulogy separate. A Eulogy must always be about the specific, the person, a kind of sad CV of life. A celebration, but about the limited nature of what actually happened.
Which in itself, never answers grief. Grief is always about what could have been, the IF of it all — whether something could have been different. The IF in any elegy is about the missed opportunity of a life, or the concept of a wasted life or time.
A little like the wish-thinking in Possibilities by Tommy:
This is a kind of poem which regrets the opportunities denied to the speaker in the poem. The idea that a day off work is the the ultimate freedom — akin to winning the lottery, or some other transformative moment.
There is this nice story in the Kenyon Review called Prakt Means Splendor by David Ebenbach, which is really just about the usual male commitment issues related to pregnancy, but, you know, somewhere else.
Which you can pair, quite unhappily with one of the best things from the last couple of years, The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado.
Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own. I don’t think that song is very good, but I think it’s very today. Etch To Their Own was written by @CJEggett and proofread only by those who who write his eulogy. You are all beautiful humans, and you should spend some time contemplating that while hydrating and writing me a response to this very email. If you wanted to tell a friend about this, firstly, please don’t incriminate me in any serious way, and secondly — please sent them here to sign up. If you wanted a friend to know about a specific back issue, please send them to medium. I don’t know if you can tell, but I’ve had a few beers. I hope you have too.