Guest Post: A Poem from Isobel Turton

21.05.20

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One of the new formats for the Mobius blog will be written creative responses to current events, and occasional contributions from Mobius team members. This week’s new blog is both – a poem from our very own Isobel Turton inspired by a verse from Walt Whitman’s A Song of Myself. Here’s her intro, followed by her poem.

Often when the world is challenging, I reach for art in many forms, including theatre. But I’ve found that during the lockdown it has been harder to engage with art than usual.

An art form that I have found myself leaning towards is poetry, one anthology in particular, Poems for a World Gone to Sh*t.

When I received this present for my birthday in January, I did not realise how much this title would resonate with me. As I pick it off my shelf now, the irony is blinding. I have reached for this book to look for understanding but also to look for joy. I feel like those two sentiments pretty much sum up what art’s purpose is for me – understanding and joy.

One poem particularly stuck with me- ‘From Song of Myself’ by Walt Whitman – although it is only a few lines the idea of being content with doing something as simple as sitting seemed to really reflect what I am trying to obtain currently, as a result of this I wrote a response piece.

From Song of Myself:
I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.

And my response:

I exist as I am, that is enough?
I have not sat for such a long time
The stillness is invigorating, and nauseating in equal measures
Business and clatter became a regular visitor
But now I sit

Although the world feels unfamiliar
As if it has been separated into acts
Act 1: Before
Act 2: Now
I can still sit

If I can still sit
I can still rise
My eyes may need to adjust to the intensity
But when I cut through the glare
I can see the world again

Different and complicated but that is the world

I am still here
I can sit and rise
Read and sing
Scream, cry, love, lay, dance, feel
Sit.
Still.

The world has not taken a hiatus or pressed pause
I know that for certain
Because I am here
There is a power in presence
And presence in being

If I want to, I am going to sit
Not by forcing
I will sit because I can
I will sit because despite it all
I am content

Isobel Turton is Print and Distribution Coordinator at Mobius  @IsobelTurton

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