A Poetry Prescription for Tough Times

Have you ever been feeling really low, and then you come across a piece of writing – a poem, a quote, the lyrics from a song – and the words seem to speak directly to what you’re experiencing, resonating deep within your soul?

I love how just the right words at just the right time can change everything for the better.

So when I wrote my latest novel, The Paris Network, about a bookstore owner in occupied France during World War 2, I began with the idea that she would issue literary ‘prescriptions’ to her customers, to help keep their spirits up and encourage them to resist the Nazis.

It was a great opportunity to reference some of the poems that have helped me the most, like ‘Go to The Limits of Your Longing‘ by Rainier Maria Rilke.

This poem helped me through an extremely tough time when someone very close to me was diagnosed with cancer. In particular I loved this stanza and would read it over and over again for inspiration…

Let everything happen to you

Beauty and terror.

Just keep going

No feeling is final.

When faced with terrifying or difficult times, like a cancer diagnosis, or war, the instinct can be to try to push away the feeling. Why would we want to sit with our terror? Surely it would be far better to fight the fear, or lose ourselves in distractions.

But in my experience, whenever I try to block an unpleasant feeling it only seems to grow.

Rilke’s poem taught me that, by letting everything happen to me, the scary feelings became a whole lot more manageable and I was able to keep going.

I hope it does the same for you too. So today, my poetry prescription for you is to read Go To The Limits of Your Longing by Rilke. I hope you find it as comforting and inspiring as I have over the years.

If The Paris Network sounds like your kind of read it’s available on Amazon here, in digital, audio and paperback. Here’s what some early reviewers have been saying…

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Wow!What a powerful story!I am at a loss for words but certainly not emotion… A captivating, heart jarring story about bravery and courage of the highest order. Incredible … kept meon the edge of my seat… itbroke my heart… I could not look away from the page for a second. I was completely engrossedin the story from start to finish must readI highly recommend it. 5 victorious Stars.’Musician’s Poet

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ One of the best books I have read all year… I loved this story so much. I started reading this last night and finished it this morning. I couldn’t stop. It made me laugh and cry. Brilliant… I want to tell the world about this book. I inhaled it, I loved it so much.’ NetGalley reviewer

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘I couldn’t put this book down, it was completely gripping right from the start. It was so poignantly beautiful and had moments of heartbreak and hope. Vivid and evocative, so well-researched and so emotive.’ Goodreads reviewer

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