A Meditation on Memory, Called (Rather Obviously) “Memory”

This is a poem which came to me after 2-3 days of poetic inactivity, and I can’t vouch for its quality, though I hope it passes muster.  There is a rather transparent metaphorical reference to a certain public official in the phrase “scoff-law in office,” but considering the things he’s signed so far, they are, as Hamlet put it, “custom[s]/More honor’d in the breach than the observance.”  Therefore, the metaphor is simply one drawn from our times; I’m not complaining that the executive orders haven’t been carried out, which considering most of them would be a distinct improvement.  The poem, of course, as a whole has only general applications to the way people remember, and is not intended to be political at all.

Memory

Memory
Is a funny thing
It restores what
We've never had;
It makes us dreams,
Wild approximations
Of our daily life
So that we see strange symbols
At night
And yet, we know, if we think
How to read the starry graphs
That turn up
When our faces are pressed
Into our pillows,
Non-cognizant,
One would have said.
Memory
Makes us hate our foes
All the more
For remembering their depredations
From before,
It presents us to ourselves
As weak victims
Or mistaken aggressors,
Neither in the middle
Nor moderate,
Though we think, perhaps,
That we exaggerate.
Memory
Dances with our ambitions
And keeps track
Of the one-two-three step
To reassure us
That we really are not great dancers,
But need the loud count
Like everyone else.
And last,
Memory purges us
Of our opportunities
To forget
Pains and hardships,
For of course
Our early warning systems
Are necessary and vital
To our well-being.
All in all,
Memory is a scoff-law in office,
Who signs papers
It doesn't abide by,
And creates havoc
Just when we have restored
Order.
But to create order
Without the orb and scepter
Of remembrance
Never mind
The fell instances of memory,
Would be impossible.
So, we tolerate the demon markers
Of the individual instance
For the sake of the overall picture.
God grant us
That the whole come true and right
Before we tuck us
Further into night.

©Victoria Leigh Bennett, 1/30/17

That’s all for now.  Though I’ve knocked off for the last three days (after all, housework and chores have to be done too!), it’s good to feel back in the swing of things.  Shadowoperator

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1 Comment

Filed under Poetry and its forms and meanings, What is literature for?

One response to “A Meditation on Memory, Called (Rather Obviously) “Memory”

  1. Without the orb and scepter, that is a delightful line reaching into the past…of collective memory. One has to question that collective memory in terms of a certain other chap you mentioned to me the other day.

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