15. Our Exercise For Today by Pat Ingoldsby
Read by Suzanne Rhatigan
I am lazy by nature.
My life can quite easily descend into a cycle of gratification of my most base desires and I find that hours, days, weeks can pass by without me doing anything of any worth.
There is only one way out of this personal abyss: Structure.
And that is why I follow the instructions in Pat Ingoldsby’s self-help poem “Our Exercise For Today” religiously everyday.
It may be difficult to find a wild horse to ride or rabbits to chase but the rewards that you receive if you do so are potentially far greater than you can imagine. You may think that you do not have the time to “stand so still for so long that all the voices go away” but the truth is that if you do not, time will have little meaning for you at all.
The poem is read by my dear friend of over 35 years, Suzanne Rhatigan.
When I stumbled upon the poem I immediately thought that her voice would be the one to bring it to life. What I didn’t know was that she had been a neighbor of Pat’s in the past.
Let me hand over to her to explain more…
I feel like I’ve known Pat my whole life. Pat was a regular on TV in Ireland in the 70’s and 80’s when I was growing up. His wicked humour and poetry and affinity with the wonders of children and childhood all came together on his TV shows, Pats Hat, Pat’s Chat and Pat’s Pals. Prior to that he wrote plays for radio and theatre and in his early years was a DJ.
Pat has overcome many serious crisis in his life not least infantile Polio which resulted in paralysis on his left side and serious periods of depression throughout his adolescence and adulthood. No doubt these difficulties contributed to the well of empathy Pat draws from in his wonderful poetry.
In the early noughties when I 1st moved back to Dublin I lived next door to Pat for a couple of years. We talked at times about the setbacks and life experiences we had endured and how they impacted our work and relationships. Pat understood my frustrations struggling to create and have my work heard and he was very encouraging and inspirational.
It was then I began reading Pat’s poetry in earnest. I have copies of his books in my bedside cabinet, which have often reassured and comforted me through difficult times.
When David asked me to voice Our Exercise for Today, he didn’t know my relationship with Pat and he couldn’t have realized how apt this piece is for both of us.
Pulling yourself out from under the weight of the world can be overwhelming, but if you can visualize it as an exercise, a mantra, a daily routine to keep your soul alive and your dreams ahead of you, then maybe you have a chance.