FC: Memory by Bree Ahern | Photo Credit to Oscar Hagbard on Flickr
1: Memory Bree Ahern Stillwater, Oklahoma November 20, 2009 | Photo Credit to Oscar Hagbard on Flickr
3: Table of Contents Nostalgia by Billy Collins............................................................................4 Memory by Pablo Neruda..........................................................................6 When I Was Six by Zora Cross..........................................................8 Sam by Walter de la Mare.......................................................................10 Lost in the Forest by Pablo Neruda...........................................12 Years Have Trailed Past by Mihai Eminescu....................14 Forgetfulness by Billy Collins.............................................................16 This Much I Do Remember by Billy Collins...........................18 Old Things are More Beautiful by Clay Harrison....20 I Remember, I Remember by Thomas Hood....................22 Memory by Bree Ahern............................................................................24 The Dream by Bree Ahern...................................................................26 3 | Photo Credit to Oscar Hagbard on Flickr
4: Nostalgia by Billy Collins Remember the 1340's? We were doing a dance called the Catapult. You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade, and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular, the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework. Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon, and at night we would play a game called "Find the Cow." Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today. Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet marathons were the rage. We used to dress up in the flags of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone. Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room. We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang. These days language seems transparent a badly broken code. The 1790's will never come again. Childhood was big. People would take walks to the very tops of hills and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking. Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft. We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs. It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead. 4 | I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821. Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits. And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment, time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps, or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me recapture the serenity of last month when we picked berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe. Even this morning would be an improvement over the present. I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks. As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past, letting my memory rush over them like water rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream. I was even thinking a little about the future, that place where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine, a dance whose name we can only guess.
5: Photo Credit to Emily Stanley on Flickr | 5 | This poem reminds me of how natural it is to dwell upon the events that have shaped the past. In this poem, the author, Billy Collins, reminisces of various periods through history in which distinct styles of dancing have occurred. In the end, he concludes how he, as usual, has been thinking of moments of the past. Collin's descriptive techniques create a strong mood and sense of imagery, and remind me of several of my own memories in doing so. I can relate to his tendency towards thinking of the past, and even thinking slightly of the future, for I, like Collins, am a naturally nostalgic individual. Collins' strong mood and sense of imagery led me to choose his poem for my selection.
6: Photo Credit to Jim Richardson | Memory by Pablo Neruda I have to remember everything, keep track of blades of grass, the threads of the untidy event, and the houses, inch by inch, the long lines of the railway the textured face of pain. If I should get one rosebush wrong and confuse night with a hare, or even if one whole wall has crumbled in my memory, I have to make the air again, steam, the earth, leaves, hair and bricks as well the thorns which pieced me, the speed of the escape. Take pity on the poet. I was always quick to forget and in those hands of mine grasped only the intangible and unrelated things which could only be compared by being non-existent The smoke was like an aroma, the aroma was like smoke, the skin of a sleeping body which woke to my kisses; but do not ask me the date or the name of what I dreamed I cannot measure the road which may have had no country, or that truth which changed, which the day perhaps subdued to become a wandering light like a firefly in the dark. | 6
7: 7 | I really liked this poem because it felt as though Neruda had written a poem that described both of us perfectly. Like Neruda, I am quick to forget, and can only grasp the imaginary things that I create, no matter how much I wish to hold on to my memories. While, like Neruda, I may remember the concept of a memory or the aroma that defined it, I cannot remember the date nor the name. In order to remember my life as it has been, I, just like Neruda, must remember and keep track of everything, including the blades of grass. Since this poem felt so personal, due to the fact that it described my character accurately, I felt compelled to choose it. In addition, Neruda's mixed usage of basic and figurative language intrigued me further compelled me to choose his poem.
8: When I Was Six by Zora Cross When I was only six years old, Heigh-ho! for Folly O! I wandered in a fairy fold, Heigh holly! to and fro. I rode upon a blossom's back Up hill and over sea, And all the little pixie pack For fun would follow me. O, golden was the gown I wore, Of buttercups and air, And twenty diamond stars or more Were pinned upon my hair All day I chased the laughing sky Above the busy town But when the moon unwinked her eye, Ho, ho! I hurried down. Ho, ho! I flitted here and there Amid my elfin band While on the green in frolic fair We tripped it hand in hand. As air and moonlight I was free Within that fairy fold, For all the world belonged to me When I was six years old. | 8
9: Photo Credit to Morgan Stroe on Flickr | 9 | This reminiscent poem by Zora Cross reminds me of my childhood years. When I was child, I had a vivid imagination, and often dreamed of playing amongst fairies, and wearing gowns of such rich colors as gold or silver. The world to a six-year old, and as described by Zora Cross, is a magical place, and often feels carefree and light. Cross's light language and cheerful tone accurately depict the scene she attempts to paint, which is one of being young, carefree, and full of spirit. Since this poem reminds me strongly of my childhood, I decided to include it in my selection of poems.
10: Sam by Walter de la Mare When Sam goes back in memory It is to where the sea Breaks on the shingle, emerald-green In white foam, endlessly; He says-with small brown eye on mine- "I used to keep awake, And lean from the window in the moon, Watching those billows break. And half a million tiny hands, And eyes, like sparks of frost, Would dance and come tumbling into the moon, On every breaker tossed. And all across from star to star, I've seen the watery sea, With not a single ship in sight, Just ocean there, and me; And heard my father snore...And once, As sure as I'm alive, Out of those wallowing, moon-flecked waves I saw a mermaid dive; Head and shoulders above the wave, Plain as I now see you, Combing her hair, now back, now front, Her two eyes peeping through; Calling me, 'Sam!'-quietlike-'Sam!'... But me...I never went, making believe I kind of thought 'Twas someone else she meant... Wonderfully lovely there she sat, singing the night away, All in the solitudinous sea Of that there lonely bay. P'raps" and he'd smooth his hairless mouth, "P'raps, if I heard a voice say, 'Sam!'"... Morning would find me gone." | 10.
11: Photo Credit to Emilie Bjork on Flickr | 11 | In this poem, the character Sam is describing a memory that he has held with him for a long time that involves visiting the lone sea and a mermaid who called his name. It is a memory that has not only stuck with him for a long time, but one that has stuck with him for a reason. Often people will hold on to imaginary memories as delicate remains of childhood, since memories of everyday life are more apt to fade. I can relate to this, as the most vivid memories I hold are often twisted or incorporated with ideas from my childhood imagination. Walter de la Mare's reminiscent tone and use of imagery attracted me to this poem, and henceforth reminded me of how often memories become dependent upon imaginations. For this reason, I chose this poem to be included in my selection.
12: Lost in the Forest by Pablo Neruda Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips: maybe it was the voice of the rain crying, a cracked bell, or a torn heart. Something from far off it seemed deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth, a shout muffled by huge autumns, by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves. Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance climbed up through my conscious mind as if suddenly the roots I had left behind cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood--- and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent. | 12
13: Photo Credit to Ben Monroe on Flickr | 13 | Pablo Neruda's use of imagery is an easy transporter to the place that he describes in his poem. His description of the wandering scent which reminds him of his childhood reminded me of how easy it becomes to forget my memories, and where I have come from. As I have grown older, it becomes easier to become involved with the life I currently lead, and in turn to forget the precious remains of my childhood. In this poem, Pablo Neruda describes, through his language and use of imagery, how he is wounded by the wandering scent of his childhood. This is easy to relate to in my circumstances, as scents are the strongest remembrances of my past. This poem reminded me of how I must always remember my childhood memories, and remember, therefore, where I have come from.
14: Years Have Trailed Past by Mihai Eminescu Years have trailed past like clouds over a country, And they'll never return, for they're gone forever, And I no longer enjoy such light endeavour As the magic of folk songs or the land of fairy Which as a child filled me with wonder, Not quite understood yet meaning so much to me, And now these shadows try to recapture me In this hour of mystery, this twilight hour. These trembling fingers touch the strings in vain To find the right notes from the fading memory Of youth, so that my soul can vibrate again. Everything's disappeared from the horizon of that distant plain And you can no longer hear the voice of past harmony. Behind me time gathers . . . and I darken! | 14
15: Photo Credit to Oscar Hagbard on Flickr | 15 | I once had an experience like the one described in this poem, in which I attempted to find pleasure in the activities that I so enjoyed in my childhood. Unfortunately, as I discovered, and as did Eminescu, these activities were merely pleasurable memories, for I had grown older and no longer found pleasure in them. The activities which had meant so much to me, and had filled me with such wonder, were dead and gone. Eminescu's description of this separation of reality into memory is one that I have experienced firsthand, and one that led me to choose his poem for my selection. While it is saddening that the passage of time should so change what pleasures are found in activities, it is inevitably so. As years trail past, as Eminecu describes, I will no longer enjoy such light endeavors as I did when I was younger.
16: Forgetfulness by Billy Collins The name of the author is the first to go followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of, as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain, to a little fishing village where there are no phones. Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag, and even now as you memorize the order of the planets, something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps, the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay. Whatever it is you are struggling to remember, it is not poised on the tip of your tongue, not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen. It has floated away down a dark mythological river whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall, well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle. No wonder you rise in the middle of the night to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war. No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted out of a love poem that you used to know by heart. | 16
17: Photo Credit to Kevin Chooi on Flickr | 17 | This poem reminds me of growing older. While this may presumably be associated with growing significantly older, I associate this forgetfulness with each passing year of age. As time wears on, it becomes easier and more natural to forget what was once previously held so dear. This poem also reminds me of my grandparents. As they age, they increasingly forget the small things, such as the name of an author, or the order of the planets. It seems as though the memories they once held are slowly slipping away, and although they recapture some, they are still losing others in the process. It seems to be a never-ending cycle of loss and decay. As Collins describes, eventually the memory that is attempted to be remembered can not even be found lurking in the spleen, or poised on the tip of the tongue. As time wears on, so does the decay of the memories held so dear. As this poem reminds me of the pain that my grandparents must go through to see their memories lost, I decided to choose it for my selection.
18: This Much I Do Remember by Billy Collins It was after dinner. You were talking to me across the table about something or other, a greyhound you had seen that day or a song you liked, and I was looking past you over your bare shoulder at the three oranges lying on the kitchen counter next to the small electric bean grinder, which was also orange, and the orange and white cruets for vinegar and oil. Alll of which converged into a random still life, so fastened together by the hasp of color, and so fixed behind the animated foreground of your talking and smiling, gesturing and pouring wine, and the camber of you shoulders that I could feel it being painted within me, brushed on the wall of my skull, while the tone of your voice lifted and fell in its flight, and the three oranges remained fixed on the counter the way that stars are said to be fixed in the universe. the small coin of that moment, minted in the kingdom that we pace through every day. | Then all of the moments of the past began to line up behind that moment and all of the moments to come assembled in front of it in a long row, giving me reason to believe that this was a moment I had rescued from millions that rush out of sight into a darkness behind the eyes. Even after I have forgotten what year it is, my middle name, and the meaning of money, I will still carry in my pocket the small coin of that moment, minted in the kingdom that we pace through every day. | 18
19: Photo Credit to Joanna Pitski on Flickr | 19 | In this poem, Billy Collins describes how he remembers the certain aspect of a memory especially vividly. I can relate to this, as I am often forgetful of whole memories. Instead, I often find that I remember the concept of a memory, or a certain aspect of the memory, such as the oranges that Collins remembered. The manner in which Collins describes this vivid remembrance describes my remembrance perfectly. He describes it "I could feel it being painted within me." This description perfectly describes how certain aspects of a memory stick within me, for it feels as though they are being permanently painted within my very mind. Collin's simple message and descriptive language led me to choose this poem for my selection.
20: Old Things Are More Beautiful by Clay Harrison Old things are more beautiful than many things brand new Because they bring fond memories of things we used to do Old photographs in albums, love letters tied with lace, Recapture those old feelings that new ones can't replace Baby shoes, a teddy bear, a ring that grandma wore, Are treasures waiting there behind a door marked "Nevermore" Old things are more beautiful, more precious day by day Because they are the flowers we planted yesterday | 20
21: Photo Credit to Oscar Hagbard on Flickr | 21 | I really enjoyed this poem's idea, for it emphasizes that old things are more beautiful since they are what make up the present. I agree with this idea and take pleasure in it, for in itself, it holds truth and beauty. Old things do seem to hold the status of treasures, as described by Clay Harrison, and perfectly recapture the dearest moments that are held dear. They are reminders of how the present has come to be, and due to this, hold more beauty than anything the present ever could. The description of old photographs in albums, baby shoes, and teddy bears remind me of old things that I hold dear to myself and my memory. The idea of old things being more beautiful than anything else strikes me as a wonderfully sensitive and true statement, and for this, I chose this poem to be in my selection.
22: I Remember, I Remember by Thomas Hood I remember, I remember The house where I was born, The little window, where the sun Came peeping in at morn: He never came a wink too soon, Nor brought too long a day, But now I often wish the night Had borne my breath away! I remember, I remember The roses, red and white, The violets, and the lily-cups Those flowers made of light! The lilacs, where the robin built, And where my brother set The laburnum on his birthday: The tree is living yet! I remember, I remember Where I was used to swing, And thought the air must rush as fresh, To swallows on the wing. My spirit flew in feathers then, That is so heavy now; And summer pools could hardly cool The fever on my brow! I remember, I remember The fir-trees, dark and high; I used to think their slender tops Were close against the sky: It was a childish ignorance: But now, 'tis little joy To know I'm further off from heaven Than when I was a boy. | 22
23: Photo Credit to Oscar Hagbard on Flickr | 23 | The descriptions that Hood embellishes upon cause me to reminisce of my own similar memories. In particular, this poem caused me to remember the old swing-set that I so faithfully spent my time upon as a child. The belief that the fir-trees were close against the sky was a belief that I shared with Hood, and with many other child as can be assured. It is a comforting childlike belief, despite its ignorance. As Hood describes after all, the ignorance only gives away to a further disappointment of being further away from heaven as an adult than as a boy. Hood's lively tone and repetitious statements give his poem a light and airy feel, and bring forth reminiscent emotions. Since it reminds me of my own childhood, I chose this poem for my selection.
24: Memory by Bree Ahern The year of June, beginnings placed snugly in warm corners Shifted light of sun flickering across closed eyes; complacent faces. A blur-a rush to the head. Time has passed. Time, it shifts between flashes of warm light so fast, so easily. My times with you are remembered in fleeting moments, defined by the brief mutual smiles that did not plan upon being seen. The brief connection of eyes, the innate excitement flooding through veins. A pleasant warmness on sweet days spent under the sun, amongst the trees. Should we go outside? So we did. Farewell, sweet times. Your face, it passes into shadow A mere whisper. A presence flickers in dark corners of grey rooms upon crumpled wakings, disappearing into darkness, murmuring a farewell. A closure of eyes to a seamless dream that fails to awaken. Your laugh pollutes the corridors of my mind. The fleeting glimpse of your smile plays against reminiscent chords. The comforting scent you carried fades into washed linen. The crinkle of your eyes closes to a blur of blue days. Time has passed. What are you now but an opaque memory? We move away so far, so easily. | 24
25: Photo Credit to Emilie Bjork on Flickr | 25 | This poem describes the effects that time can have upon memories, and how quickly it can cause memories to fade. My fading memories often feel dreamlike, and therefore slightly unreal. By denying the poem any definitive identifications, and instead providing figurative language and imagery, I meant to convey the sense of dreaminess that I so often find in the memories that are slipping away from me. I enjoy this poem because it reminds me of times that I held dear during June, and manages to refresh the fact that such times actually occurred. Since it causes me such strong remembrances, it remains one of my favorite poems, and therefore one of the ones I chose for my selection.
26: The Dream by Bree Ahern The haunting memory of a dream: an aching sore of inevitable woe. A whisper lost in neutral air, pale garments fading into soft walls. Immobile body of carved marble so still. It was lined against a minimal sheet. The dust mites were crawling through the worn pillowcase. The hair had grown brittle, spread fair over an unoccupied space. The looming architecture of a face: hills, valleys, concrete, wood beams, supports. The mind was an unused office space. Nothing was inside but a desk and a chain. A grey sterile space with a fluorescent bulb. The building, this face, was not made well. Slabs of messy foundation, pit holes in walls, shattered windows through which rain leaked. A filmy negligee was crumpled across skin of fragile ice so fine, covering a skeleton. The wall, it was stark, it blended into skin. The cuticles of the body were grey, and the moons had faded. A minimalist existence was drawn across mauve air. The cursed memory of such a dream, how it refuses to fade. | 26
27: Photo Credit to Emilie Bjork on Flickr | 27 | The mood of this poem reminded me of how the most striking memories of dreams are often those of nightmares. Although I can only recollect select few of my dreams, the ones I can recollect are indeed nightmares. In this poem, I attempt to recreate the horror of a haunting memory of a dream that refuses to fade away. Although the dream described in not one that I have experienced, it is one that I imagine could be experienced or viewed as a nightmare. It describes the human body as being essentially useless, if not dead. It describes it as being an architectural space that has been poorly built. The mind is described as being an unused office space. It demeans the human existence as holding no life whatsoever. As a whole, the poem is meant to emphasize how nightmares are the most memorable of our dreams.
28: Photo Credit To Emilie Bjork on Flickr | 28
29: Bree Ahern is a fifteen year old girl who lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma. She enjoys playing cello, painting, writing poetry, imagining, playing cards, watching movies, listening to music, drinking chai tea, and spending time with her sister and friends. She has peculiar taste in music, and enjoys foreign films. Some day, Bree hopes to travel to Iceland and Russia, although she only speaks limited Russian and no Icelandic whatsoever. She someday hopes to live in Oregon. | 29
31: Works Cited Collins, Billy. "Forgetfulness." Sailing Alone Around the Room. New York: Random House Inc., 2001. 29. Collins, Billy. "Nostalgia." Sailing Alone Around the Room. New York: Random House Inc., 2001. 42. Collins, Billy. "This Much I Do Remember." Picnic, Lightning. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998. 49. Cross, Zora. "When I Was Six." Favorite Poems. New York: Helen Ferris Tibbets, 1957. 486. De la Mare, Walter. "Sam." Collected Poems. 1901-1918. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1948, 305. Eminescu, Mihai. "Years Have Trailed Past." OldPoetry. 20 November 2009. http://oldpoetry.com/opoem/35691-Mihai-Eminescu-Years-Have-Trailed-Past Harrison, Clay "Old Things Are More Beautiful." EllenBailey. 20 November 2009. http://www.ellenbailey.com/poems/ellen_127.htmneruda Hood, Thomas. "I Remember, I Remember." Favorite Poems. New York: Helen Ferris Tibbets. 1957. 542. Neruda, Pablo. "Lost in the Forest." Selected Poems. Ed. Nathaniel Tarn. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1970. 275. Neruda, Pablo. "Memory." Selected Poems. Ed. Nathaniel Tarn. New York: Houghton Mifflin company, 1970. 478. | Photo Credit to Oscar Hagbard on Flickr 31