Imtiaz Dharker’s fine Bloodaxe collection Over the Moon has been my constant companion for the last few weeks on long train journeys, quick bus trips and during some very late nights while a very dear, and now departed, friend of ours, Mike Russell, was in his last days. One of my favourite poems is ‘1977’. It captures the joy of life so well – the thrill of Saturday Night Fever, the pulsating beat ‘Ah ah ah ah/ staying alive’. It called to mind some great times we have had sharing music and dancing as each new year dawned.
Dharker writes movingly of loss and love, of her desire for her late husband to ‘be very old with me’ even though ‘our time is stopped’. The rawness of grief is coupled with a celebration of life and a call to ensure that all those we love live on: ‘Say his name where you live, /in the company of friends’.