The concept of ‘letting go’ is one that has been very much on my mind, of late, but I have been thinking about it in relation to people, memories ~ things human, in other words ~ as opposed to inanimate things.
However, I seem to have been photographing a lot of abandoned ‘things’ of late and then today I was leafing through a wonderful collection of Irish Poems, selected by the great Michael Longley. I was a little shocked, though I shouldn’t have been, to find that I had earmarked this thought-provoking poem by Michael Coady, who is from Carrick-on-Suir, a town which has a foot in both Co. Tipperary and Co. Waterford.
Letting GoI love the abandon of abandoned things the harmonium surrendering in a churchyard in Aherlow, the hearse resigned to nettles behind a pub in Carna, the tin dancehall possessed by convolvulus in Kerry, the living room that hosts a tree in south Kilkenny. I sense a rapture in deserted things washed-out circus posters derelict on gables, lush forgotten sidings of country railway stations, bat droppings profligate on pew and font and lectern, the wedding dress a dog has nosed from a dustbin. I love the openness of things no longer viable, I sense their shameless slow unbuttoning: the implicit nakedness there of the taking, the surrender to the dance of breaking and creating.
(Michael Coady included in 20th-Century Irish Poems Selected by Michael Longley, 2002, Faber and Faber:London)
The most recent photograph of an ‘abandoned thing’ that I took was this seat at a falling-down thatched pub on the road between Michael Coady’s Carrick-on-Suir and my home town of Tramore. It has been haunting me as I would so love to know about the people who sat on it; the stories and gossip it heard …..
I’m beginning to wonder now if we can ever really separate ‘things’ from ‘people.’ What do you reckon?
28 thoughts on “Letting Go”
Thanks so much, Jan
Don’t ask me! Been trying to let go of someone for 26 years and haven’t been able to yet 😉
Hi Emily, interesting you should make this point as I have been pondering the very notion of ‘letting go’ in terms of people. So much depends on the context but I think that there is huge pressure at a societal level to see people ‘move on’ ~ whatever that means!
Snap. The next Halo and Noose newsletter (August) is titled “I can’t let go. No, no” (Hamilton and Batson lyric)
Hi Graham, thanks very much for writing. The newsletter sounds very interesting.
I love that poem and your photo of the seat.
I’ve got a whole collection of “abandoned things” photos not yet posted on my blog. Perhaps I should have a special slot once a week, with that as a title. When I’m not feeling sociable, one of my favourite dog-walks is along a wide twitten between garages. There are all sorts of abandoned, broken, and overgrown things to photograph there.
Sarah, how interesting that you have such a collection. I’d absolutely love to see your photos so go for it!
Okay, will do.
I have a post scheduled to go live tomorrow morning, and you get a mention!
I do associate things with people , I am afraid to admit I also get attached to object they seem to take on a personality … I often find myself apologizing to things if I am throwing them away! Froends and family rest happily in the sure and certain knowledge that I am touched!..I am not I am just a sensitive soul with a vivid imagination! 🙂 xx
Willow, rest assured you are not alone. You have a sister here!!!!
I am so pleased to hear that, all the same they do think I am mad!
Reminds me of another poem about an abandoned shed in County Wexford (?) can’t think of the poet’s name.
Hi Angie, lovely to hear from you. The poem you’re thinking of is: A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford by Derek Mahon. Another gem!
I like that poem – poetry generally leaves me cold. Ireland is a treasure trove of abandoned buildings and structures. England has a heritage of industrial history, free for the viewing. In many parts of rural Europe you can find abandoned hamlets and villages. Under the right circumstances and conditions I am certain that you can reconnect these places with those that knew them during their lifetimes.
Roy, I have a feeling that you could come to love a lot of poems!
I’m glad to say that even since posting this photo I’ve been finding out a good bit more about the pub and who may have been sitting on the seat and when!
Beautiful–and very thought-provoking! Coady’s poem is an amazing word picture. I especially liked the line about hearse resigned to the nettles. And, your picture of the abandoned bench with the question about how do we separate people from things probably will have me pondering it for several days.
Thanks so much, Sheryl. Yes, Micahel Coady is an wonderful poet.
An interesting poem, makes the photo seem less desolate.
Hi Sonya, thank you very much for writing. I’, glad you liked the poem. I agree that it makes the photo less desolate but somehow I can see people on that seat!
I love abandoned buildings, in particular, for the stories they hold of all who have gone before.
Couldn’t agree more. They are so full of mystery and intrigue.
I reckon you’re right, Jean. Old things/places tend to make me wonder about how/who used them in the past 🙂 ❤ ❤