Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Memories



  “There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.”— Aeschylus 



SOURCE



“Your memory is a monster; you forget – it doesn’t. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you – and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!”— John Irving




Midweek Motif ~ Memories



Memory is our active storage tank, always storing and retrieving (for the lucky ones, of course). We are often astounded by its playfulness. We don’t know what will emerge out of its darkest depth of time nor are we aware when a cherished moment will sink down to the fathomless deep.

Take a look at your memory and play with it in whatever way you want.


A few poems for inspiration:


In Memory of My Feelings
by Frank O’Hara

My quietness has a man in it, he is transparent
and he carries me quietly, like a gondola, through the streets.
He has several likenesses, like stars and years, like numerals.

My quietness has a number of naked selves,
so many pistols I have borrowed to protect myselves
from creatures who too readily recognize my weapons
and have murder in their heart!
though in winter
they are warm as roses, in the desert
taste of chilled anisette.
At times, withdrawn,
I rise into the cool skies
and gaze on at the imponderable world with the simple identification
of my colleagues, the mountains. Manfred climbs to my nape,
speaks, but I do not hear him,
I'm too blue.
An elephant takes up his trumpet,
money flutters from the windows of cries, silk stretching its mirror
across shoulder blades. A gun is "fired."
One of me rushes
to window #13 and one of me raises his whip and one of me
flutters up from the center of the track amidst the pink flamingoes,
and underneath their hooves as they round the last turn my lips
are scarred and brown, brushed by tails, masked in dirt's lust,
definition, open mouths gasping for the cries of the bettors for the lungs
of earth.
So many of my transparencies could not resist the race!
Terror in earth, dried mushrooms, pink feathers, tickets,
a flaking moon drifting across the muddied teeth,
the imperceptible moan of covered breathing,
love of the serpent!
I am underneath its leaves as the hunter crackles and pants
and bursts, as the barrage balloon drifts behind a cloud
and animal death whips out its flashlight,
whistling
and slipping the glove off the trigger hand. The serpent's eyes
redden at sight of those thorny fingernails, he is so smooth!
My transparent selves
flail about like vipers in a pail, writhing and hissing
without panic, with a certain justice of response
and presently the aquiline serpent comes to resemble the Medusa. 



In Memory Of W.B. Yeats
by WH Auden

I

He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
The snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
By mourning tongues
The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living.

But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the Bourse,
And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed,
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom,
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.


II

You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
The parish of rich women, physical decay,
Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,
For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
In the valley of its making where executives
Would never want to tamper, flows on south
From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
A way of happening, a mouth.


III

Earth, receive an honoured guest:
William Yeats is laid to rest.
Let the Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.

[Auden later deleted the next three stanzas.]

Time that is intolerant
Of the brave and the innocent,
And indifferent in a week
To a beautiful physique,

Worships language and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives;
Pardons cowardice, conceit,
Lays its honours at their feet.

Time that with this strange excuse
Pardoned Kipling and his views,
And will pardon Paul Claudel,
Pardons him for writing well.

In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice.

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress.

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountains start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise. 


Memory of April
by William Carlos Williams

You say love is this, love is that:
Poplar tassels, willow tendrils
the wind and the rain comb,
tinkle and drip, tinkle and drip--
branches drifting apart. Hagh!
Love has not even visited this country. 



Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—

                (Next week Susan’s Midweek Motif will be Reunions.)


                                                              

14 comments:

  1. Loved the prompt, Sumana💖 sharing my poem "A memory of June" .. hope you like it. Happy Midweek, everyone!💖

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  2. A steady beat of raindrops here this morning, yet i shudder to think of those islands in the path of Storm Irma. May God's mercy be with them

    Have a blessed Wednesday all

    much love...

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    1. Yes. I, too, am looking up at a steady light rain and thinking of those people and lands in the path of Irma. Prayers that the storm will weaken, prayers that people will find a way to save what is most precious.

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  3. Thanks for the prompt, Susan. I love it.

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    1. It's Sumana's! But you are very welcome.

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    2. Haha. I am sorry. Thanks Sumana ( the plane had made a detour :) :)

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    3. Lovely to see you here, Counsellor. Smiles.

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  4. Wishing everyone a wonderful poetic Wednesday. Just read that the hurricane made landfall in the Caribbean. May all be safe.

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  5. Hi everyone! And thank you Sumana for this wonderful prompt. I especially like the quote by John Irving, memory is indeed a monster...!

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  6. I was struck by the quote from Aeschylus, the memory of joy in present grief as I wrote a poem about that just yesterday. But will try to come up with a new one today. We have smoke from the wildfires these days hazing the hills. We can smell the woodsmoke. Wildfires, floods and storms.........and still the talk, talk, talk about climate change. Sigh.

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  7. Went with the joy in grief poem as it fit the prompt to a T........

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  8. Hi everyone. Enjoyable contributions.

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  9. It was great to revisit my loved place and to share my memories :)

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