I recently watched the film, “Hope Gap” which at first saddened me deeply, so I did what I often do while watching films that intrigued me in some way (the list of actors was stellar, more on that later) but are not what I want to watch at the moment – I fast forwarded. I stopped here and there, rewinding at will. I quickly realized the movie wasn’t bad, quite the contrary, it was simply slow. I truly enjoyed watching the last 30 minutes.
The film is about loss and redemption, about surviving when surviving seems impossible, when the pain seems to outweigh the benefits of life. For me, one of the best aspects of the film was the lead female character’s collection of poetry which leads her son to create a poetry-based web anthology that offers hope.
The title of her anthology was I have been here before, which it turns out is also a actual website of the same title that lists poems that offer hope or other support by letting us know, that someone has gone through what we are feeling and they have survived. The question of which came first ~ the film or the website ~ caught my attention for a moment, but then I thought my time could be better spent reading the poems. I think I chose wisely, and thought you might enjoy one of the poems shared on the page, which I have listed below, along with the poem quoted in the film.
The film is chockfull of some of Britain/Hollywood’s best actors – Bill Nighy, Annette Bening and Josh O’Connor ~ each is excellent in their role and the scenery in the film is stunning.
But the real point of all of it, is that survival is possible under even the saddest of circumstances. And, that always bears repeating.
BY MARY OLIVER
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
BY DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI
I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.
You have been mine before,—
How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow’s soar
Your neck turn’d so,
Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore.
Has this been thus before?
And shall not thus time’s eddying flight
Still with our lives our love restore
In death’s despite,
And day and night yield one delight once more?
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