Poem of the Day: The Ideal by James Fenton

A picture of the The Ideal by James Fenton printed on brown paper.

As promised, I’m sharing my poem of the day with you guys! This is called The Ideal by James Fenton (as you know, stated in the title).

The Ideal by James Fenton

The Ideal by James Fenton

This is where I came from.
I passed this way.
This should not be shameful.
Or hard to say.

A self is a self.
It is not a screen.
A person should respect
What he has been.

This is my past.
Which I shall not discard.
This is the ideal.
This is hard.

Where did I find this?

I’m reading The Poetry Pharmacy by William Sieghart these days. I picked this up from The Last Word Books in Lahore, and it sold out like an hour later. All of you will see quite a few of the poems featured in this book; I’m utterly obsessed with it, and for good reason. Sieghart accompanies each poem with a note on the feeling that it’s for, and his writing rivals the poems themselves.

In the years since he first had the idea of prescribing short, powerful poems for all manner of spiritual ailments, William Sieghart has taken his Poetry Pharmacy around the length and breadth of Britain, into the pages of the Guardian, onto BBC Radio 4 and onto the television, honing his prescriptions all the time. This pocket-sized book presents the most essential poems in his dispensary: those which, again and again, have really shown themselves to work. Whether you are suffering from loneliness, lack of courage, heartbreak, hopelessness, or even from an excess of ego, there is something here to ease your pain.

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