Perfect Blue
Kona Macphee
 
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Commentary: The gift

I wrote this poem after reading Lewis Hyde's book The Gift, about gift culture and its relation to artistic work.

One of the things I took from the book was the idea that, in a gift culture, value or goodness keeps circulating because of the cultural requirement to hand gifts on, or to repay them with other gifts; true gift-giving is never a single, one way transaction, and gift cultures require this reciprocity to survive.

In a universe where anyone's individual existence is so gigantically unlikely (see the related poem Conception), the very fact of being here can be construed as the most enormous and extraordinary gift; it seems right, therefore, that we should try to live out these lives with generosity, to pass on some tiny part of that unearned, unrepayable, near-incomprehensible benefaction.

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