Monday, July 16, 2012

NOW AND THEN AGAIN



I can not manage to get the links to take color tonight
so kindly click just below each underlined red phrase.
2012
Ah yes, old like me now....and still producing:
Reunited at 50 Years

1964

So I took a look back to when we were young:
The Lost Concert

Nostalgia at a respectful distance eventually leads to compassion for the creatures we are,  and the creatures we were.  The whole dense complexity of those decades in between sweeps over me as a tidal wave of images and feelings recalled.  I've been sorting through memorabilia again.  All the trace material, the paper detritus of experience, arrayed in piles around me on every surface.  My own face, and the faces of people no longer in my immediate vision other than here, looking back at me. 
1972

 
Four 'Woolworth' dime-store mug shots-
two of me, and two of a once important fellow, whose ultimate influence changed me in ways both painful, and perfect for my growth, seem shockingly accurate.  We look precisely like the fugitives we were.

I never saw myself, or him with such clarity then.  It touches me to look back at us, now that he is no longer alive.  I just can not shred them.  I have a packet of inexpensive photo books where I've begun placing pictures like this. 


What will become of them when I'm gone?  Should I worry?  I wrote this for a writing friend who was dealing with the same issue in 2009:
PROOF
(For Her & For Me)
 

Treasures 
boxed and stored away;
no one to pass them to, you say,
Like me,
left holding just the artifacts
for proof.

Oh, sweet my friend,
when we, ah, when we are gone away,
gone for good and all,
no thing
save life itself lives on.
It will not need our stuff.

No 'thing' can matter when matter dissipates.
'Twas that 
plain fact, 
not cruel, not kind*
which in reverse brought each of us 
into being, one at a time.

We two
as we are now,
will sometime surely no more be.
Perhaps a fragrance lingers
  for those 
whose hearts we touched.

A chance breeze 
carries an impression
made of an impulse
now forgotten
that moves a leaf
to let a ray of sunlight in.

Did I tell you
I dream of the precise blue shade
that was my fathers eye,
hear my mothers voice when I sing.
Therefore, 
I dream and sing.

(Mary Oliver must have credit for the concept which she used as 
"..neither cruel nor kind" in reference to 'nature')

Related Post
"Now and Then"



6 comments:

deanna7trees said...

ah yes...memories. i hold on, hold on and gradually let go of some of the paper. but some remains to view on occasion. i do not really care what happens to it when i am gone.

kimmie said...

I have very little in the way of tangibles ... moving too many times when I was young I guess ... your post makes me think somehow of native cultures who are camera shy - not wanting a part of their spirit to be forever captured in the mystery of a photograph.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

i love the strip pics. they were always really, the best. too bad it isn't possible that way anymore.
there was something about going into that booth....
i thought all day about your words here, feelings...wondering exactly what i DO think...

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

still thinking. i have spent the last months with someone who has arrived at the point in her life where it all is changing. she for years has held close and put such value in her THINGS, her HOME. has expressed so forcefully her NEED to keep things just the way they are/were. NO CHANGE. but it has changed and really, seemingly very suddenly, all her things, her home, her past are flowing away from her body, her most specific
belonging. and soon, this too will be inconsequential. so i am watching. closely.

Nancy said...

Michelle~ I think so many at this past a certain age, age begin to contemplate these things as we begin to say goodbye to others and feel our own shifts in dreams, desires and health. I think a lot. A lot. And the truth of it is, even if you have offspring to pass on tangible, material belongings...many a time they too do not want, desire them as well. Where does it all end? I contemplate a beautiful photograph of the housekeeper who helped raise my mom. No one who knew her is left now. No one who heard the stories is left, except me it seems. Who will treasure the sweet memories my mom shared of how this much loved woman would wake her and her older sister on New Years Eve so they could ring in the new year with hot chocolate? For now I hold them close to my heart. For now it is me. Because in the end it is not just the 'stuff'- but the stories that went with it. As in all that comes to the present for you when you glance at 4 small photo booth images. No one could really hold that but you...and him when he was here. I have some treasured strips from the photo booth too. Priceless.
Thank you for this most thoughtful post.

Ms. said...

My favorite stanza-

"We two as we are now,
will sometime surely no more be.
Perhaps a fragrance lingers
for those whose hearts we touched.

But when we share things here, they take on another life. So maybe it won't matter when we are gone, suddenly or slowly, while we are here, the things that matter to us are worthy of a place, worthy to be shared and cherished. Letting go is inevitable and will arrive in it's own good time.