Fleeting

Nostalgia…as this blog is nothing if not nostalgic, this should have been easy. Old books, right? My first memory of walking into a true blue antiquarian bookshop when I was nineteen? A snatch of Robert Burns’ poetry that my grandfather loved to quote, all forever connected in my mind with his tobacco stained plaid shirts and the scrape scrape of his blackened toast…? Crunchy leaf-strewn walks in the country, with my mom’s copy of Walden in hand…? Done.

Yet, I kept thinking about this plucky clematis on my patio that bloomed vivid and carefree all summer long…a curtained backdrop to our outdoor laughter and sunlit afternoons with friends. Then it began the un-wished for departure…much too soon…with a casual strewing of petals. Like a good-bye that has to be rushed, for fear of tears. A presence much too fleeting. I miss it already.

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Fleeting

what is nostalgia
but my own private
Greek chorus
chanting softly
collective in shadow
on an ancient stage
suggesting
murmuring
insistent
“You will feel this way”
my one act
falters
my soliloquy
fades
distant disquiet, unseemly
persists
as though one
falling petal
(mere cellulose tissue)
should convey
so much more
when, simply it is
surely it is

one more petal

that has fallen

softly

 

In Time Like Glass

pool, lilypads

This picture, taken with a vintage filter, captures some of the surreal, shimmering quality of Time expressed by W.J. Turner in his poem: In Time Like Glass. Turner was influenced by Einstein’s emerging theories on time and relativity, and struggled to poetically render these concepts as he saw them–past as an eternal present, where nothing truly disappears, or time as glass preserving both seemingly transitory events and even fixed objects such as mountains. What is past, what is present? What is sky, what is reflection of sky?


In Time like glass the stars are set,
And seeming-fluttering butterflies
Are fixéd fast in Time’s glass net
With mountains and with maids’ bright eyes.

Above the cold Cordilleras hung
The wingéd eagle and the Moon:
The gold, snow-throated orchid sprung
From gloom where peers the dark baboon

The Himalayas’ white, rapt brows
The jewel-eyed bear that threads their caves
The lush plains’ lowing herds of cows
That Shadow entering human graves

All these like stars in Time are set
They vanish but can never pass
The Sun that with them fades is yet
Fast-fixed as they in Time like glass

 


W.J. Turner 1889-1946; Georgian poet, writer and critic

See my previous post on Turner, The Lost Poet