Tag: memory

Chain Reaction

I wrote this acrostic poem as a personal response to Wordsworth’s magnificent Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey. Click on the link if you would like to read his poem.

R emember when you first stood here in wonder,
E arly days, when you climbed these very
T rees and chased down those same trails in wild abandon?
R emember how the memories would later flash unbidden
O n your inward eye – in the concrete jungle of cage city?
S oon you must return there – but this time as two in one
P erson – the youth you were and the man you’ve become
E ach holding the other’s hand, alone no more. And now your
C hildren, out of breath, slip warm hands into yours – open-eyed
T o see, all ears to hear your old tales of this brand new place.
I t could be their consolation for the dullnesses to come,
V ery much as it was and will be again for you. Throw a pebble in that pond.
E xpect the water to ripple long after you have departed.

 

Image result for hills around tintern abbey

 

Image: Holiday Cottage Wye Valley

Stimulus: WordPress Daily Prompt Retrospective

Power Pop

Image result for summer evening gardens

 

S ummer 1962, early evening, a balmy breeze bringing
O ver back gardens some teasing radio scraps of an unfamiliar tune.
N ot loud enough! Telepathy, perhaps, because someone cranked up the volume.
G oing to Number One, I mused, bogus mind-reader turned bona fide prophet.

 

 

Image: Fotothing

Stimulus: WordPress Daily Prompt Song

A Leaf Must Fall

Walter Pater said that all art aspires to the condition of music. Music plays games with time which may be why it can evoke the past so powerfully. Our first encounters with a song or tune can focus attention in a uniquely memorable way and remain permanently accessible.

Playing a favourite recording is a bit like revisiting a memory although memories, we are told, alter each time they surface and meet the light of day. A little bit of now leaks in which results in our remembrances constantly being rewritten. Wonderfully creative, of course, although it’s worth recalling that ‘being creative with the truth’ is the new euphemism for telling lies!

Music is your only friend until the end, Jim Morrison sang, and in some moods I can’t disagree. Listening to familiar records puts me in touch with who I was but can also show me how I’ve changed. As so often, the poet Philip Larkin has something interesting to say on the subject. The ‘you’ in this poem is his mother.

Reference Back

That was a pretty one, I heard you call
From the unsatisfactory hall
To the unsatisfactory room where I
Played record after record, idly,
Wasting my time at home, that you
Looked so much forward to.

Oliver’s Riverside Blues, it was. And now
I shall, I suppose, always remember how
The flock of notes those antique Negroes blew
Our of Chicago air into
A huge remembering pre-electric horn
The year after I was born
Three decades later made this sudden bridge
From your unsatisfactory age
To my unsatisfactory prime.

Truly, though our element is time,
We’re not suited to the long perspectives
Open at each instant of our lives.
They link us to our losses: worse,
They show us what we have as it once was,
Blindingly undiminished, just as though
By acting differently we could have kept it so.

There’s so much in this poem that it’s hard to hold in the mind. It gnaws away at my thoughts, which must be why I keep going back to it. Bit like probing an aching tooth perhaps? I find myself wondering if present unhappiness can damage happy memories. Another poet, TS Eliot, wrote that humankind cannot bear too much reality. Maybe we’re all busy re-editing the past to fit new realities or worse, new virtualities … ha, my spellchecker doesn’t like that word which I’ll take as a signal to stop! Besides, I’m getting out of my depth here …

Sometimes you come across old music you never heard at the time which has a freshness that evokes an era better than some of the stuff from it you keep playing … such a find was The Famous Jug Band’s album Sunshine Possibilities. If there’s a Genius of place, there must be a genius of time. Listen to these two tracks (lyrics provided for the first) and you may find yourself magically transported back to 1969 …

If you must go, go now 
Before the summer fades 
Before the geese have flown
Before the rivers rise 
Or would you take my heart? 
Would you take my mind?

And if they ask where you are 
I'll say that you have flown 
Before you died of cold
And while your wings were strong 
And that I love you still 
And that all will fade. 

And as you fly away 
You'll think no more of me 
For autumn has no tears 
For summer's fading leaves 
And that is how it was 
And how it will be.

100 word story (#5)

Their fathers snoozed, dreaming good wars. Nothing so real in civvy street: somnolent Saturdays and clockwork commutes. Cities slumbered.

Outside: bombsites, deserted streets, untended commons. Freewheeling in space-time, days became places to buildchaseclimbhideraceriderunskatechatter without let or hindrance: holy grounds within their hearts.

But clocks still tick and now their stamping-grounds are bulldozed flat and featureless. By officious command, adventure is confined in playgrounds. Streams no longer teem with frogs and newts and sticklebacks nor whisper to be dammed with mud. Water won’t trickle through fingers six feet underground in silent culverts.

And their Trees uprooted? How are the Mighty fallen?

 

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Image: Tim Hill Psychotherapy

100 word story (#1)

After a morning monkeying with minor royals he stumbles across the king of trees, one branch within reach if only he can jump and clasp hands … swing legs up to lock around  it, body hanging … muscle his way up to kneel and stand, peering up through leaves to judge distances between handholds.

But first he must wade through nettle-beds ringing the monarch like a praetorian guard.

And when his head breaks through the crown, ah, such a realm – sky, clouds, treetops, towns, far-distant hills!

In years to come even the Sting of his bare legs is part of the glory.

 

Image result for looking up at trees

 

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