Time honored memories – a poem

A couple of years ago Dan and I studied Eliot’s “The Four Quartets”. I emerged with a sense of wonder at his genius, even if normal persons, such as I, have a hard time comprehending his innuendo and references. He often focuses on time which inspired me to wait a while and then to put my thoughts on the same topic into a poem. I hope that it also gets you thinking.

Time present does not exist.
In the blink of a nano second,
It slips through the veil of now,
To be lost in the past.
In its passage it leaves
No tag, no taste, no touch,
No smell, no color, no light,
Nothing, except perchance, a memory.

The future we live,
And relive. Plan and seek,
It does not exist. It is
A figment of our expectation
To lurk forever undefined
It fills us with hopes, fears, excitement,
Anticipation, but no regrets for
Regrets are the stamp of the past

The past is select iotas of time.
To live, and relive. A few moments,
Kept in our temporal minds.
Not held for eternity,
Fleetingly resurfacing in our present,
Here lurk our regrets and sorrows
Mingled with joys and pleasures,
All lost, perhaps, when we die.

Some past chose us
Lee Harvey Oswald kills JFK
And the world acquires a memory
That individual moment when the shots rang
Yuri Gagarin, man in Space, whirls weightless,
Man’s “one small step” indelible on
World vision, Neil Armstrong takes his “giant leap”
Planet and moon one in time.

Other remnants of individual past
Horded, nourished, retrieved
Slip, invited, or not,
Into the mind’s present.
A marriage, a trip, a view,
A regrettable mistake,
Chocolate birthday cake
And Proust’s petit Madeleine.

Fifty years ago I selected
An obscure moment
To remember for eternity
Walking an ugly lane
I said “this moment is worthless
And yet, I choose to remember it”
Undistinguished, cherished
Thrust out of that present into the future,

And recall I still do:
The dirty ground, the ruts and stones,
The grey sky, the high hedges, the cold spring air,
My satchel, my isolation,
My knowledge that this moment,
Is a piece of the past,
My unimportant snippet of time,
Only, and always, mine.

8 thoughts on “Time honored memories – a poem

  1. Fantastic post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic?

    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more.
    Thanks!

  2. This new feature of wordpress, linking a given poem to several others in the archive–I had not decided whether I liked it or not. But this morning, as a bout of the blues has hit, I found myself looking for poems on other people’s blogs and discovered many of yours that I had not read before….what an impressive collection! I stopped to comment on this one because I agree that the “worthless moment” truly stands out as a poignant and original piece. Congratulations on all of it, Jane!

    • Cynthia thank you for your praise which is dear coming from one so accomplished. I hope that your blues of your new environment has passed or is passing. I’m glad that you enjoyed the “worthless moment.”
      By the way I have not discovered the ‘new feature’ of wordpress which links back to archived posts. I’ll have to experiment.
      Happy Thanksgiving!
      Jane

  3. I like this poem too. I have often scribbled in my journal fragments and “poems” about the ambiguity of Time–past, present, future. And I am always struck by the way the brain selectively recalls the past.

    • Yes I agree time and memories are elusively selective. I urge you to share your ‘scribbles” as I liked your poem in the St David’s Earth night booklet. I’m glad that I didn’t address the sadness of dementia or Alzheimer’s which add a more complex twist to our memories. Cheerio, and thank you for your encouragement, Jane

    • Thank you, dear friend, for this kind voice of encouragement. I agree that those last two stanzas have a special message. I even wondered about letting them stand alone – “The Worthless Moment” perhaps?

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