Memory is…is not

with thanks to Susan Ahlbrand for the invitation to write a “this but not that” poem based on an abstract noun over at Ethical ELA’s Open Write today

Memory is a blanket
of new-falling snow
over barren ground
where nothing would grow

Memory is not static
it is ever-changing
reinventing itself day by day
ever so slightly
around the edges

Memory is sparks
crackling and popping
from the inner fire
in the grate

Memory is not reliable—
it goes its own way,
its own consummation
and consumption,
ashes stirred to life
rolling in the breeze

Memory is a river
life-giving, sustaining, sacred
flowing free until obstructed
necessary and nourishing
yet potential danger for drowning
—you cannot live there, submerged

Memory is not tomorrow
or yesterday

Memory is now

Memory is not a book,
a record carefully preserved

Memory is written in disappearing ink

happy snow. tamaki. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

4 thoughts on “Memory is…is not

  1. This is all so consistent with empirical revelations that psychologists have come upon regarding memory. I once heard a scientist state something to the effect that poetry can humanize scientific discovery and make it far more relevant to the world. You do that here. My favorite metaphor here: “Memory is sparks / crackling and popping / from the inner fire / in the grate”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Fran! I had to read this a few times to make sure I was understanding what you meant by the ending lines. When I finally understood, I thought this poem is a double WOW and so true! I love all your metaphors, especially “Memory is a river
    life-giving, sustaining, sacred
    flowing free until obstructed
    necessary and nourishing.”

    However, I’m not sure if I understand your meaning of the following two lines:

    “yet potential danger for drowning
    —you cannot live there, submerged.”
    Thank you for sharing your poem and inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

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