Sunday, April 26, 2009

Memory Love

I've been listening to podcasts of WNYC's Radio Lab. An episode from 2007 was called "Memory and Forgetting" and the following are quotes from one person or another in that show:

"Memory is a structure that connects one brain cell to another."

"Every time you remember something, you are changing the memory a little bit."

"… the more you remember something, in a sense the less accurate it becomes."

"… the safest memory, memory that's uncontaminatable, is one that exists in a patient with amnesia."

These stuck in my brain so much that I had to write about it. Even though it is nowhere near being in a final state, I decided it was OK to share at this stage.


Memory Love

Science says I build my memories out of bits and pieces,
each and every time. Memory is an act of creation.
And every time I remember something, I change it.
I can't help it. None of us can

I handle my favorite memories so much
that I've rubbed off much of the paint and
worn the corners down. No longer neat cubes,
they are set on a course to become spheres.

I pull them out to look at them lovingly and,
like delicate paintings exposed to bright light,
I wear a little of each away with my adoration.

Perhaps the love I give these memories
makes up for what I take away.

Meanwhile forgotten memories are stored
away in my mind, wrapped in protective plastic
like grandma's couch, perfectly preserved
yet unloved.


And speaking of sharing - have you been over to the Monday Poetry Train Revisited yet?


6 comments:

anthonynorth said...

I like the way you handle memory here. Memorable.

Julia Smith said...

This is really wonderful:

'I pull them out to look at them lovingly and,
like delicate paintings exposed to bright light,
I wear a little of each away with my adoration.

Perhaps the love I give these memories
makes up for what I take away.'

I'd say it's worth the wearing down if the memories are adored.

SweetTalkingGuy said...

Yeah, I'm not up to speed with this memory thinking, but it makes good poetry.

Who was it that said: if you tell somebody something three times, they'll think they told it you?

Perhaps if we read something three times we'll think we wrote it!

Or, if we hear something three times, we'll think we said it!

Phew, this is getting silly. Sorry!!

Linda Jacobs said...

I Love that last image of the couch wrapped in plastic! Great poem!

Pam said...

I love where the inspiration took you in this poem. I could see your memories smoothed and with constant caress.

sister AE said...

Thanks, all. I won't have a chance to catch up with your blogs until Sunday, but I will be around.

Thanks, Anthony. Was the pun intended?

Hi, Julia. I agree completely.

Andy - perhaps silly, but you're right on target. The same radio program had a segment on implanting false memories in people and it wasn't nearly hard enough!

Thanks, Linda. My own grandmother didn't have a hermetically-sealed couch, but I've been in houses where they were featured.

Hello, Pam. Thanks. I like the image of a child's alphabet block, with no sharp edges left from generations of tough lovin'. What do you think?