This piece composed of a painted metal retablo box, silver leaf, watch and clock parts, fragments of old documents, peacock feathers, a milagro, silver charms, a ceramic face and a print of a painting by an artist whose name I’ve forgotten—perhaps Rudolfo Morales—was one of my favorites. It sold long ago and I don’t remember its title, so I have named it what I would name it if I had just made it. Perhaps it was the original name.. We’ll never know.
Heirloom quilts, wedding veils, and Grandma’s tablecloths
are but future feeding grounds for silverfish and moths.
Since we cannot control the changes that the future brings,
we should not be flummoxed by the loss of treasured things.
Their value is more visceral than literal, it’s true,
so time can rarely mitigate their presence within you.
North and south and east and west—wherever we are cast—
within our minds and hearts, we bear the treasures of our past.
I cannot help mourning the loss of this quilt handmade by my grandmother over 100 years ago which seems to have vanished from the assisted living facility where my sister lived for the last ten years of her life, so I guess this poem was mainly written to comfort myself.
In cracking the present to reveal the past,
it shimmers, triumphant, expansively vast.
I tend to remember the moments most happy—
successful and positive, silly and sappy,
but when I remember it using a filter,
it leans to one side, completely off-kilter.
The same number of memories from days gone by
if remembered at all, are recalled with a sigh.
I reach into my heart and remember again
the more negative moments of days that have been.
Then I quiver with passions, now full of dejection
of the losses and failures and pains of rejection
It’s the way of the world to give us one day
what in the future it will take away,
but nonetheless, we must live for the present
and accept all it offers—both painful and pleasant.
When we pin all our thoughts on past sadness and fun,
We fasten ourselves to a life that’s undone.
This is my answer to John Donne’s “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning.”
The Sunday Whir Wordle 537 prompts are: undone cracking triumph expansive reach quiver shimmering filter way reveal sigh moment
We live in a modular world, things changing around us so fast that what we once thought we’d always remember can pass in a blur. We come together and we part, now close, now remote, castoff too fast to really memorize each other so that years later, we half-remember by a certain picture in the mind, a passing scent, a strain of music. Something. There was something special. Half-grasped, caught like a foxtail in our mind.
I love school reunions, it goes without saying.
Rehashing our virile youth now that our hair is graying,
our stories grow much shorter as our memories are fraying.
I’ve drunk nostalgia from the cup, but now there’s no delaying.
The past is always with us, but alternatives I’m weighing.
I’ve an acumen for homecoming, but no talent for staying.
Once the bloom is off the rose, I have to be off straying.
The past is a dead horse, whereas my future self is neighing!
(Click on photos to increase size and view as slides.)
If you want to know how I colorized that old black and white photo, go here: https://deepai.org/machine-learning-model/colorizer
Though memories are sketchy, those that remain are vivid—
mere scraps of joy or humor or times when she was livid.
No way to tell what snips of time her memory will nourish—
current relations lost to time while past ones live and flourish.
The mind does nasty tricks when it decides to misbehave.
It may leave us abandoned within its darkening cave,
or perhaps it casts a cinema only one can see,
drawing them into a world of dreams where they are free.
No one who walks through memory’s door can return to tell
whether it is heaven or a living hell.
Another trick of life that draws us fast within it,
forcing us to play the game without a way to win it.
Why do all our memories fade out to pastels?
The dulling of the colors, the muffling of the bells?
Often we discover that a happening once dated
becomes a strain of music half-remembered, mostly faded,
and we labor to remember a life so full and vast
that fades down to a shadow relegated to the past.
Better to infuse the present with such light
that all its various colors shine out vividly and bright.
At times you were the problem and at other times the buttress.
At times my lost direction and at other times my compass.
You were my kindred spirit, my teacher and my lover,
and when you went away, I felt that I could not recover.
I saw your face in everything—in rivers and in clouds.
A dozen times, your profile. Your retreating back in crowds.
Love dies but does not vanish. It has a thousand faces
seen at the least likely times in unexpected places.
Facts we can’t face up to in our mutual lives
swarm around in memory in buzzing swarming hives.
Facts as sweet as honey. Facts that sting like bees.
Niggling facts that seize the mind to torture or to tease.
It is a constant truth with love that one will first depart—
an act that seems so far away when love is at its start.
But the truth is always looming. Death will end what we’ve begun.
That inevitable setting of the brightest glowing sun.
A handful of memories, discounted by time.
Five for a nickel and ten for a dime.
Burned down to ashes, their bodies erased
along with the dreams they achieved or they chased.
How we incorporate thoughts of the past
into our lives may alter and cast
the present in molds that are better off shattered.
Better new memories than those aged and tattered.
Life is for living, so best throw away
corpses of the past that get in the way.
Living is glorious, but it’s not portable.
By merely living, we become deportable.
Thoughts hoarded in dreams should dissolve in the day.
Think too much of the past and it gets in the way.
As hard as it is, it seems that we must
render ashes to ashes, return dust to dust.