Isn't it wonderful how something can inspire you out of the blue? I was driving home from the school run on Monday and was listening to a wonderful, gentle programme on Radio 4 about Bertolt Brecht, specifically his poem 'Pleasures' ('Vergnügungen') a short, simple poem of a few lines he wrote for his new lover in 1954.
It is a thoughtful list of simple pleasures, an appreciation of those small, everyday things in life that brought him comfort and probably joy too.
Brecht died from a heart attack in 1956 at the age of 58, the same age as I am now, which was a sobering thought and whilst I was driving I started to mentally write a list of things that made me smile. Those small unassuming and often taken for granted things that never fail to warm my cockles and in their own quiet way make my world that little bit more rosy.
By the time I reached home I had formed a rather disorderly list in my head and, still sitting in the car, I scribbled down what I could remember on the back of a parking ticket I found in the foot well.
If you have a few spare moments I can highly recommend you take the time to write your own list of simple pleasures. I found it a joyful, grounding exercise and after I woke this morning it wasn't long before I was aware that I was taking more than usual notice of my surroundings. The kiss goodbye from my husband, the smooth, hand-painted painted pebble on my desk given to me by a friend, the single scabious stem I plopped rather hurriedly in a small bottle on the windowsill. I found it quite a humbling experience being reminded of the many things I have to be grateful for, no matter how insignificant they may seem.
This is my list. It's very much 'as is' so I don't feel I can call it a poem. I haven't tried to make it fancier than it is which I thought would be contrary to the objective.
A soft scarf
A perfect poached egg
A baby’s laugh
Knowing the words to a song
Dancing alone in the kitchen
Walking in the garden when the honeysuckles are in bloom
Washing on a clothes line
The sun on my face
The first sight of the sea
This is Brecht's 'Pleasures', many of which I can relate to too. I feel an affinity with someone who includes their dog in a list of favourite things! If you would like to listen to the programme you can find it (at the time of writing) on the BBC Sounds App. Radio 4 'The Pleasures of Brecht'.
The first view from the window in the morning
The old book found again
Snow, the turning of the seasons
Taking showers, swimming
If you do find time to write your own list and feel you could share it, please do, I would love to read it.
Wishing you all a lovely week, I must say I am very pleased with myself for sticking to my promised schedule - I shall see you all next Tuesday!