"To say goodbye with all our heart is to turn a parting into a blessing. Goodbye is derived from the phrase 'God be with you.' A blessing is the offering of one heart to another; to another person, to a situation, to life itself. Isn't that what we are here for? To bless the savor of this precious moment even as it slips through our fingers? To allow its sorrow, its joy, its silence or laughter to enter our life stream and add a measure to who we are?" So writes Roger Housden in this tenth and final volume in the celebrated Ten Poems series.
There is a graceful fragility to life which the Japanese call mono no aware, which means the "bittersweet" quality of a life where everything changes. That sense of impermanence shines through the ten poems Housden has chosen for this volume. Many of them capture the loss that comes with bidding farewell to a lover ("Love Sonnet XCIV" by Pablo Neruda), to the women a man has known ("The Lost Hotels of Paris" by Jack Gilbert), to a daughter leaving home ("Waving Good-Bye" by Gerald Stern), or to an abandoned lover ("Alexandra Leaving" by Leonard Cohen).
Drawing on his own inimitable skills as an interpreter of poetry and as a seasoned raconteur, Housden muses on the losses that accrue in our lives and the suffering, regret, disappointment, and grief which often accompany them. The separations and departures described in these ten poems touch our hearts with their authenticity of emotion.
Thank you Roger Housden for serving as our guide into the world where poetry intersects with the robust human adventure!