Prayer, Carol Ann Duffy

A colleague and friend sent me this poem as a suggestion for this blog series, and so I thought I would include it today. I didn’t actually know this poem, but it definitely resonated with some of my current feelings. Its Wednesday today and I’m to resist the “stuck in a rut” feeling and accept where I am today. And I may be in the same place again next week physically, but time will have passed and things will have happened which will have signalled change. This poem captures that sentiment of seeing the unexpected or seeing things differently and noticing that in the every day.


Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade I piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child’s name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside the radio’s prayer –
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.

1992. The Times Saturday Review.

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