Do you know the poem ‘Sometimes’ by Sheenagh Pugh? It’s so popular that I gather the author is sick of it being chosen – she has written other poems, for pity’s sake. But I still like it a lot, and it has come to my mind so often over the last couple of days.

You know how sometimes you feel you’re battling your way through a sea of cold porridge? Everything conspires against you in a fearsome harmony of mean-spirited opposition. And how at other times you feel unreasonably blessed: that the gods are smiling at you, that the world is in harmony after all, and on your side.

Neither of those states lasts: nothing is for ever; not the bad times, and not the good times either. But boy! have I had a lovely couple of days. Here are some of the highlights.

1. I discovered that I have a terrifically impressive bone scan result. A few years ago I had a just-about-OK result, but this one is great. Right up at the top of the scale. And since I have improved I am taking the credit for eating right and exercising properly, and I am really proud of that.
2. The reason I had a bone scan is that I’ve recently been diagnosed with a horrible condition called polymyalgia, for which you need to take cortisone for – in all likelihood – several years. But here’s the good bit: I’m doing so well with the present level of cortisone that I will begin to slowly* reduce the dose in January. Twice! Can’t wait.
3. I got the exact sweater I wanted in the Eileen Fisher sale. I also got a double discount in the sale: not sure why, but hey! It was my day. To add to the pleasure quotient I had lunch in Food For Thought in Neal Street, where I haven’t been in way too long, and it was just as good as ever.
4. My dear friend Dee scored two tickets for next June’s Leonard Cohen concert, and one of them … is for ME! I was faffing around thinking oh, should I really go to this one? (The last one was in a small venue in Paris in September: this is in the O2 Arena. Would I like it as much? Would I like it at all?) Oh worra worra. But as soon as Dee told me she had tickets I realised not only that I wanted to go to this one very much, but that I wanted to go to every single remaining Leonard Cohen concert I can, while he is still able to skip around the stage and kneel (kneel!) to sing his astounding songs. I am very excited, as you may have gathered by now.
5. I am planning to grow my hair so that I can get it into one of those fancy plaits that start up at the top of the back of your head and the hair gets folded in all the way down. I have no idea if that will work, and I have even less of no idea if I will last the hair-growing course, which tends to be rather gruelling. But still.

* I want to let you know that the split infinitive is deliberate. I’m feeling dangerously liberated.

So here’s the poem:-

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 efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a sea of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.

And indulge me: here’s a picture of One Heck of a Guy.

4 Responses to “Sometimes”

  1. Lucille Says:

    So glad to hear about dem bones of yours and all the other good things richly deserved. I had a sudden yearning for long hair too but as usual chickened out when it got in my eyes. I think that French plaiting would suit you.

  2. admin Says:

    And I may well chicken out, but the goal is a good one. I’m glad to have the encouragement.

  3. Frances Thomas Says:

    Ouch – sorry to hear that you’ve had this problem. But how nice to be getting better, and hope it continues. Hair on the other hand…I’ve just cut mine short and feel liberated.
    Lovely poem – I didn’t know it, so thank you

  4. admin Says:

    But yours was short anyway! I’m not sure how long I can bear to wait for long hair … already I’m irritated by the bits that stick up in the wrong direction. Still…
    And very glad you like the poem. I find it very helpful, in bad times and in good ones.

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