Sunday 8 May 2011

Remembering and forgetting

We can only see the Sistine Chapel for the first time once, and we can never be surprised twice by the outcome of a poem or a novel, the unexpected modulations of a piece of Haydn or the wild ramifications of an improvisation by Coltrance. (from "Hubbub", p, 131)
True, we can experience many things for the first time only once. But surely it is possible that if one has forgotten the first reading experience and returns to a piece of literary work, he or she is still capable of being surprised at the outcome, or surprised at the sudden remembering of the outcome? Perhaps there are new things to be surprised at?

On the subject of remembering and forgetting.....

Song by Christina Rossetti

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain;
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

Remember by Christina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

1 comment:

  1. "The new poets still quoted the old poets,
    but no one spoke in verse
    of the pregnant woman drowned,
    with perhaps twins in her,
    kicking at blank walls
    even before birth."
    -- "A River"
    By A. K. Ramanujan

    "Hoson zes, phainou
    Meden holos su lupou;
    Pros oligon esti to zen
    To telos ho chronos apaitei"

    "While you live, shine
    Don't suffer anything at all;
    Life exists only a short while
    And time demands its toll"
    -- 'Song of Seikilos'
    (Ancient Greek Melody,
    c.100 BC)

    You see how the colors twist and curl
    This is one of my favorite Photoshop tools
    I learned to use it in my pictures
    After El Collie had died
    And I had come back from death's brink
    For another cup of bitter tea

    I cried and cried that deathly time
    But she had told me I had to stay
    I still was not finished with my work
    So I created music and pictures
    To reconnect me to this crazy life

    She had had a dream of dying
    In which she crossed over a bridge
    I tried to follow her across as well
    But half way over I had to go back
    She continued on, leaving me behind

    We both knew what this dream meant
    We looked at it with our magical tools
    And then buried it away in the earth
    Next to the Palm tree that she had planted
    And hoped that we still had more time

    Life and death twist and curl
    We eat and die, around we go
    Coffee and bread are not enough
    Not even meat can fill my need
    As we continue to follow life's flow
    Death's angel still follows us all

    When I was young I looked at the stars
    And as I watched them in the sky
    I fell up into them in the swirling night
    Yet still I remained in my young body
    Only just barely just arrived
    Only just awakened to this dream

    My mother told me I had cried and cried
    As a young baby still new to this world
    I could not remember this,
    but knew what it meant
    All the suffering of being born, and dying
    Once again the wheel was turning
    The Fates were spinning their stories
    And we were the threads they wove

    Today I had another dream
    That woke me from night's bed
    A palm tree had died in the light
    Cut off at the knees as I watched
    And chopped to pieces with our eyes
    Another piece of this twisted dream

    Around goes the swirling mist of dreams
    This blue and emerald shadow we live in
    Eating and breathing each day's joy
    Pulling out the unwanted weeds of pain
    Tending our foolish gardens of hope
    Can you see why I cried and cried?



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