Late fragment…

I have a book called Poem for the Day ( Albery, N. ed. London: Chatto & Windus, 2001) which I often use as a devotional aid. It is wonderful for dipping in and out of at random.

One of my favourite poems from this book is Late Fragment by Raymond Carver, an American poet and short story writer who died in 1988 aged 50 from cancer. This poem was one of his last and for this reason it is especially poignant. Raymond was a recovering alcoholic and even as he drew close to death he writes about love and self recognition and amazingly he considers himself blessed and fulfilled through his ability to write.

After his death his long-term partner Tess found a scrap of paper near his typewriter. On it he had written “Forgive me if I’m thrilled with the idea, but just now I thought that every poem I write ought to be called Happiness”.

I hope as my life draws to a close I feel as fulfilled as Raymond obviously did.

Here is the poem:

Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.

And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

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