The Passing Year

Poem, published in Pomona Valley Review

Earlier this year, my poem, ‘The Passing Year’ was published in issue 16 of Pomona Valley Review. It was both gratifying and reassuring for me that editors Clem and Whitney chose to use the poem, as I’m particularly fond of it and had already been rejected by eight other publications. Had I not been so attached to it, then I may have decided to abandon the pursuit to publish and leave it on the proverbial backburner, while I concentrated on submitting other works. However, my persistence paid off on this occasion, and I’m so glad that I continued to enter submissions!

Even without the upheaval and turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic in the past few years I still think it’s fair to say that, when we all look back on our lives over any given year, we experience and bear witness to an incredible range of highs and lows during that short timespan. It’s this bittersweet sense that I’ve tried to encapsulate with ‘The Passing Year’.

“I can’t fail to wonder at all these things, to be amazed by what the passing year brings.” from ‘The Passing Year’ by Sam Bartle. (Image: Bogdan Dirica. Pexels)

It observes the struggle and hardship caused by adversity and how we try to keep going until we encounter better times ahead, but for me it’s also a reminder that when those good times arrive they must be enjoyed and savoured. The places we go to in our lives can play host both to experiences of love and happiness, or hatred and sadness, so our memories of those places can become bittersweet as well, which is something I’ve tried to reflect with the lines:

 "These different worlds all in the same space, 
In transience, come and go from your sight."

Read Issue 16 of ‘Pomona Valley Review’ here, where you’ll find ‘The Passing Year’ at page 228.

By Sam Bartle

Mortal Shades

‘The Mortal Ash’ and ‘The Shadow Of Mortality’ poems

By strange coincidence, two of my very first poems to receive publication have both been on the subject of mortality. It’s perhaps not the most comfortable subject to deal with, but I think the impetus to write about this came at a time of greater exposure to loss and grief than I’d experienced before, and made me feel more tuned-in to our own mortality and compelled to write about it. It may even partly explain why I began writing poetry in the first place.

‘The Mortal Ash’ is a poem that was prompted by news of the death of an ex-girlfriend (Image: Anna-Louise. Pexels)

‘The Mortal Ash’

The poem is filled with sadness for me, as it reflects on the death of an ex-girlfriend. In 2021 I stumbled on the news, via social media, that her ashes were to be strewn at a remembrance ceremony, and it transpired that she had died 6 months previously. Shocked, and stunned by this chance discovery of her untimely death, I decided to locate the cemetery and went there the next day to pay my respects in private.

It was heart-breaking to see the ashes of the lovely person that I knew, who had so much life ahead of her, scattered on a patch of grass in front of me. So, when I returned home I wrote the poem in her memory.

The poem can be read in Duck Duck Mongoose magazine (Issue 1, poem no.16) My thanks to the editors for giving this a chance to be read in their wonderful new publication.

It seems as though we grow more aware and sensitive to our own mortality with age and experience (Image: Thorn Yang. Pexels)

The Shadow Of Mortality

This poem reflects more generally on the fragility of the human experience and how we seem to grow more aware and sensitive to our own mortality with age. I suppose the ‘shadow’ is always with us, but looms larger, and in clearer focus, with time and experience. However, the poem also makes the point of how we can use that to help us try to live our best lives.

The poem can be read in The Writer’s Club edition of 9th April 2022.

By Sam Bartle