22 January 2016

Comfort in poetry

A little Pablo Neruda has me sighing, "This. This. This." His poem "You Will Remember" raises so many questions: Who is the "you?" Under what circumstances must that person remember? Are these instructions in memory, or reassurances? Some people might see this as being a poem about the afterlife; others might think that it is a very literal recollection of a beautiful, meaningful place. To me, though, it is all about the power of memory after a loss. "[N]othing is waiting" there because the individual, or at least the individual's body, is gone; however, in that place of emptiness, in the images that resurrect themselves from love and longing, we do find "everything waiting there." We find a way to hold on. We find our footholds, and we return to each other.

You Will Remember

You will remember that leaping stream
where sweet aromas rose and trembled,
and sometimes a bird, wearing water
and slowness, its winter feathers.

You will remember those gifts from the earth:
indelible scents, gold clay,
weeds in the thicket and crazy roots,
magical thorns like swords.

You'll remember the bouquet you picked,
shadows and silent water,
bouquet like a foam-covered stone.

That time was like never, and like always.
So we go there, where nothing is waiting;
we find everything waiting there.

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