This is a beautiful and moving collection of poetry Michel Faber wrote in reaction to losing his wife, Eva, to cancer. The first half is about the final months of her illness and her death, and the second about the aftermath. The poems range from grim to bitter to angry to tender to dark humour, and are full of emotion.
I don’t think Faber is the best poet I’ve ever read (whatever that means), and I didn’t connect to some of the poems at all though I could see the emotion behind them. But even those that I didn’t click with still added to the overall feel of the collection – the small moments that mean something to only Michel and Eva speak to everyone’s small moments, because that’s where life is.
In many ways these poems aren’t completely for the reader. The collection is about telling the world Eva existed, that she was loved and that he loved her. These poems are for Eva. These poems are to show you Eva.
All I can do, in what remains of my brief time,
is mention, to whoever cares to listen,
that a woman once existed, who was kind
and beautiful and brave, and I will not forget
how the world was altered, beyond recognition,
when we met.
I think the best way to experience a poetry collection is to hear it. Check out the two short videos below to hear Michel Faber read two of my favourites (I particularly like Don’t Hesitate To Ask, though the video leaves out the final stanza).
Don’t Hesitate to Ask
The Time You Chose