"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Memories, poetry, and unpacking

I am still busy unpacking, and I have accomplished more today than any other time since I have moved. Moving is a funny thing, at least for me, as I unpack boxes, I find unexpected memories sometimes. The whole process takes forever because I get caught up in old journals, or keepsake boxes that I haven't looked through in years.

This time is especially like this because I am going through some boxes that never made it to the "unpacked" stage through the last 2 moves. There were some hard moments to read in my journals...but the person I was in 2004 and 2005 seems so distant to me now. I can't even say I am back to my old self..recently, this has seemed to be a new me-- a new start somehow. As I read those journals, I was ever more grateful than I can begin to write for who and HOW I am today.
I came across a book from one of my old English classes in college. I remember this moment so well. The moment I discovered what is my favorite of all poems, a poem I can write and recite from memory. The class was an evening class and we were shuffling through pages to find another poem and I happened upon this one in class and read it. I was lost in it, and completely forgot the class around me. Of course, I got called on for a question-- this particular professor loved to catch us daydreaming-- but I simply exlained what had happened, and the professor (surprisingly) had us all turn to that poem and asked me to read it. She seemed moved that I was so moved. Here it is:

When You Are Old
by William Butler Yeats

WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
I love that poem more each time I read it. But more importantly, at that time in college, reading that poem inspired me to start writing again--and to read more and more poetry and literature, and to start collecting my favorite poems. I started writing poetry in the 1st grade (!) and I have all of my poems and other writings since then, and I got off track today going through it all. But isn't it wonderful when one piece of work, just a few lines, can inspire and conjure up memories like that?
OK, back to unpacking. >^..^<

PS. Visit a cool site-- The Favorite Poem Project, and click on VIDEOS to see Americans of all ages reading their favorite poems--it is great!


Cassandra September 4, 2007 at 12:36 AM  

an excerpt from one of my favorites:

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (T.S. Eliot)

I find myself saying these lines in my head all the time and I have no idea why?????

Cassandra September 4, 2007 at 12:38 AM  

by the way-- my above comment had my usual dose of sarcasm-- (but I do love the poem)


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