#PoetryPromise October: The Everyday Hymn by Clare Carlile

#PoetryPromise is coordinated through Poetry by Heart with the aim of promoting and spreading the love of poetry. My #PoetryPromise for 2015 is to share a favourite poem of mine every month through my blog. My choice for October is The Everyday Hymn by Clare Carlile.

Small pleasures
Like opening a can, putting pressure down
And pulling back the rounded metal tag,
Forefinger slipped under, braced against the hiss
Of hydrogen, the give of metal against the thumb
And the kick as the seal passes out.
Even like the low crunch as the speckled
Porcelain egg shell collides with the thick rimmed
Baker’s bowl and splits, just round the side,
Into one thousand geometric shapes.
Or, smaller still, the just audible shake
In a person’s voice when a laugh
Is yearning to escape.

I’ve always enjoyed the Foyle Young Poets Award anthology, and I read the shortlisted poems every year open mouthed in wonder. These young voices feel unleashed through poetry and present ideas in language so well-chosen it makes me envious. I could have chosen any number – Hannah Locke’s Breaking the Ice from 2009, Joe Heap’s The Air Sang from 2004 – but Clare Carlile’s poem from 2012 is the one I come back to.

The Everyday Hymn has that quality I so admire in poetry: the minute observation which allows the verse to render the world in a new perspective. The detail with which the opening of the can and the breaking of the egg are described is exquisite; as I read I can hear and feel them in the words of the poem. And the joys that these everyday events bring, when scrutinised and savoured, connects the reader and the poet in a shared smile and sigh of satisfaction – it’s just wonderful! The poem also reminds me to savour those moments, the small pleasures, and to bank them up. The world is full of joy, if you look closely enough.

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