Tuesday Poem - Clare Pollard: The Contradiction

I've been unable to get the Sandy Hook school tragedy out of my head.  I think anyone with small children, or grandchildren will know that feeling - what if it had been one of mine?  How do you live with the loss - the gap in your life?   The poet Clare Pollard wrote a beautiful sonnet about missing children which was read at a recent church commemoration by Kate McCann.  You can read the whole thing on her website here.  I've copied the sonnet below.

The Contradiction

The absence contradicts itself:
the missing conjures what we miss.
You are not here, I’m not myself,
but still I talk to you like this.
You’re in the crowd, the news, the glimpse -
I make you there when you’re not there.
I trace your steps, I map your face,
I say your name, see you in air.

You’re all I know and so unknown.
I cannot hold you, yet I do:
please let me hold you in my head
and where you are now, hold me too.
How can you be so near and far?
You are not here. But here you are.

Copyright Clare Pollard



  1. A powerful piece.
    An amazing depiction of loss/grief.
    I have to admit it had me in tears.

  2. A stunning piece - the sonnet such a well-chosen form here I think - holding the subject as it does. Very moving.


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