‘One day I will die. One day I will not wake up to the smell of my partner bringing my morning mug of strong coffee up the stairs. One day I will be dust. But I have learnt the truly hard way that the passion I must cling to and ardently believe in is plain gusto. To respectfully paraphrase [Agatha] Christie – whose books were wonderful comfort and company when I was on chemo – how lovely to be fifty-four years old and greedy!’ From On Passion, by the much-loved poet Dorothy Porter (1954-2008).
I’m a fair way off 54, but I’m greedy too. For great stories (like those contained in this book), for great music (Frightened Rabbit is doing it for me at the moment), for great food, for great places, for great company, which I’m lucky to have.
I’m greedy for as much life as my trusty little ticker can handle.
I’m greedy for fucking gusto.
But best to give the last word to the poetry wizard, another quote from the delicious read that is On Passion. ‘One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen is an azure kingfisher fishing in a mangrove swamp near my family home in Pittwater, Sydney. I was paddling a canoe down a creek in a rare meditative silence (one of the joys of canoeing), when there was a flash of orange/blue, like a jewelled dart suddenly spearing into the water. And as Gerard Manley Hopkins so exquisitely says, I watched a kingfisher ‘catch fire’. In the same sonnet, Hopkins proclaims the unique wonder of ‘each mortal thing’: ‘What I do is me: for that I came.’‘