Memories

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Memories. Literarily speaking, we have Remembrance of Things Past, a novel in seven volumes by Marcel Proust. I’ve not read it. If you have, I’d like to have a conversation. All I know is that he was eating a cookie (a madeleine, specifically) and the experience triggered memories of his childhood. I have eaten madeleines, but not many.

Musically, we have the song “Memory” from Cats, sung here by the British star Elaine Page and here by Barbra Streisand, my preference. Andrew Lloyd Webber has a gift for melody, and his first wife was named Madeleine, thereby a quinky dink.

Although I’m working on some other weightier topics, today I seem to be on memory. Saturday, I made a batch of pickled peaches (though I did not pick them, Peter) and was pleased to find they did, indeed, remind me of a childhood flavor. My mother didn’t can, but we had backyard peaches, and our neighbor canned them on halves for us. Among the offering were pickled peaches, rich in syrup, cinnamon, and cloves. I don’t know anyone named Nana, but here is her recipe.

All this brings me to the first poem below. Here’s the truth: Not only do I not remember writing it in 2011, I don’t remember ever seeing it before this morning. I don’t know whose death it mourns (someone with initials LS). Send help.

The second poem is another oddity. It wasn’t a dedication. It was a future memory, a term I’ve just invented. When I wrote it, I imagined my elderly self, alone and blind. Lovely, right? But it seems to have been a defensive position into which a certain amount of holy light came. I later dedicated it to Dr. Louise Cowan, about whom I’ve written elsewhere.

Each day brings its own memories for the next day, and it’s understandable we can’t retain all of them. Perhaps that’s why we have joy in the journey. Both poems speak of our heart’s rhythm. Enjoy your peaches.

How It Goes

The NO! first, no, no

Not you—yes—

That’s first

We knew your fragility—

Heart— parts—

But no, not yet—

That sick in us—gut, eyes—collapse

Then the memorials at your door—

In the lobby—

On a stage—

Carefully written and lit, folded—

Arranged

Not like life—

Ragged, funny, fished—

So—our hearts keep beating, hurting, beating—

Find again a rhythm

Forge again a smile—

We, left, remember too

The greatness, shyly, slyly

Shown and shared—

Hurray! for you—

Hurray

 

For L.S.

 

©Mary Ann Taylor 2011

 

Perspective

I remember my

Blue eyes:

 

When I thought I knew

of pain, of loss,

It was just a cold,

an old gray cat–

Not my heart’s darling

Not its urging rhythm.

 

My eyes searched for

Beauty–

Shine and shadow, bloom and autumn gold

Skies colors bursting joy,

And faces, the dear beautiful

Faces

which now I see no more.

 

Shallow breaths taken as feet inch

Forward afraid to fall

Unable to rise

Move my heart along

But falter

Failing

Fast.

 

Now I am surprised

By the cement that holds my hand

Still as the shining steel

That holds my hip.

 

I doubt my blue eyes

Would remember me.

 

And yet and yet and yet

Quietly, quietly

 

Into my darkness the Holy Spirit whispers bliss:

“Sweet child, there is more to thee than this.”

 

To LC

 

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