This is a poem that was born in the crucible of all last year’s drama, finishing up with the Paris bombings. It meant a lot to me, and I hoped it could find a home somewhere special.
Some of the musical references might need an explanation. There’s more to pibroch (Scottish pipe music) than laments, and more to canto jondo than confrontation with death, but laments and death songs are frequent within the genre. Nanha is an ancient Islamic musical form of a lament for the fallen, and tanakh is a metrical form which occurs in the Psalms, defined on Wikipedia as ‘an outcry from those who have lost everything’.
Thank you very much, Josephine, for finding it such a hospitable home.