Sometimes by Sheenagh Pugh

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best intentions do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.

Sometimes

Apparently, the poet Pugh now disclaims this poem, originally written about a sportsman with a drug problem, expressing her hope that he would get over it, because it has since been misunderstood as simplistic optimism for the world in general. Nevertheless, in this week after the week of high anxiety and bated breath, it seemed to me to speak to the idea that in fact, sometimes things do work out.

She gives examples of how things can go right, from muscadel / faces down frost through to what people are capable of, becoming what they were born for. There is genuine and realistic optimism in her belief that Sometimes our best intentions do not go / amiss. For surely that can be true, especially when there is great effort behind it.

I especially like the line The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow / that seemed hard frozen. Whether that be the literal sun in our universe or the warmth of the kindness of others, our grief which can feel solid and immovable, can be softened. As the poet says, may it happen for you, because sometimes things don’t go, after all, / from bad to worse. Sometimes they really do get better.

6 thoughts on “Sometimes by Sheenagh Pugh

  1. May it happen to the US. Things are looking up. Although when I went to the Doctor’s office they were hacked and had no computers. Vermont has a panicked situation as Covid is rising a bit.
    Thanks for the poem. It helped.

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  2. I don’t read this as simplistic optimism, at all. I welcome its perspective. Thank you, Jan. It’s a good reminder. I wonder if our attention is not grabbed by the smooth flow of events the way it is when things don’t go well. After all, we are hardwired to notice the dangers.

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  3. Jan, Such a timely poem you’ve chosen. It gives me hope that “sometimes… a people…decide they care enough…” I love the last line you also mentioned: “The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow/ that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you”) We sure do need that sun right now.
    Thank you Jan. Lisa xoxo

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