Sunday, November 7, 2010

Memory Lane is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there

I wrote a few days ago about all the ancient writings Bern found when she was rearranging one of the guest bedrooms. I've spent a lot of time reading that stuff since then.

It is remarkable to listen to my much younger self's words and consider what it was that I, back then, thought and pondered and wondered about.

I was much more intense and existential back then. And though I think of myself as terribly 'ironic' today, back then I was 'ironic' to the point of nihilism , it seems to me.

I wrote very long paragraphs and dozens of sonnets in strict iambic pentameter. The prose is interesting to me. The poems, I fear, are just awful--sentimental, inflated and nihilistic all at once. That combination, let me assure you, makes for a terrible poem.

There were some blank verse poems. Here's one written when I was a freshman in college (18 or 19 years old). It is about an actual event. I watched out my dorm window as a man fell to his death from the fifth or sixth floor of a construction site.

The falling man

A man fell yesterday, I saw him fall...
So sure of foot and balance that he came, he came,
too near
the edge.

And (it seems to me, watching from this very spot)
he watched as well--he watched a bird
that soared lightly, without steel beams to hold
him high.
As the bird was
flashing past his face,
the man leaned out
and seemed suspended
one short second--seeming to smile--
though I was so far away,
and fell.

The bare shoulders of the men
who rushed to him
glistened in the sun.
They seemed to be talking softly
so not to be heard
by the gathering crowd.

A girl I know passed by
with long and shimmering legs,
walking her dog, Natasha.

Today there is black crepe
hanging from that floor,
gently waving to the
passing birds.

It is too easy--the allegory we should avoid--
that he is just like all...
all of us....
Only he has fallen
and we,
we are creeping edgeward.


Rather dark and negative, it seems to me.

But there are nuggets among the sand of what the 'me' I was over 40 years ago wrote.

I'll seek some out to share...and ponder....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.