Seasonal Affection

by Michael Leach

 losing focus
 losing sight
 losing taste
 losing weight
 losing face
 losing grace
 losing a woman
 losing warmth
 losing heart
 losing perspective
 losing religion
 losing recognition
 losing competitions
                                       losing the attitude
                                                                            losing the pessimism
                          losing other symptoms
 losing oneself
 losing inhibitions
 losing the shackles
                                 while donning a tuxedo
                                                                          and riding a bicycle
                                                                                                          into a swimming pool 

This poem was inspired by The National’s song ‘Graceless’, which was written by Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner (2013). The final three lines describe a key part of the accompanying video clip created by Sophia Peer (2013; available to view through YouTube: The title of this poem refers to seasonal affection in terms of both love for a woman and a mental health disorder. At heart, this piece is about loss—a concept highlighted through the poetic device of repetition. While most of the losses are hurtful and negative, some of the losses are heartening and positive. This is why lines such as ‘losing the pessimism’ rise up triumphantly across the page.

Michael J. Leach is a biostatistician, pharmacoepidemiologist and poet who works as a Senior Lecturer at the Monash University School of Rural Health. Michael undertakes research, teaches across medical and postgraduate degrees, and runs poetry workshops to encourage reflection, empathy, and wellbeing among medical students. His science- and health-related poems have appeared in Cordite Poetry ReviewMeniscusRabbitPlumwood MountainMedical Humanities, the British Journal of Medical Practitioners, the Medical Journal of Australia, and elsewhere. Michael’s debut poetry collection is Chronicity (Melbourne Poets Union, 2020). He lives in his hometown of Bendigo, Victoria, Australia.

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