Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Memories: Each Day Radiant with New Meaning

now that the earth has been moved?

My journey and my family's journey of bereavement continues
as the moon waxes towards fullness.
Thank heavens the stars are up there in the sky,
“all secret and wise twinkling down,” as Melissa says,
as we, breathing, look up
at the moon.

My sweetheart, Daniel Holland, makes his living through gardening and working with the earth. He tended his brother Freddie before his death and he took good care of his mother Alma before her death several years ago. In a recent telephone conversation, he said this: “The memories are really big at first. The memories give someone an afterlife in the beginning. The memories are a double-edge sword because they bring the person back to you, but they also remind you of the loss.”

§ Remember Me §

In claiming our memories—whether pretty ones or sad ones—we go deeper into our story. We go deeper into ourselves. When we write our memories for ourselves and for others we “transfigure the commonplace” [ Douglas Dunn]. This transfiguring is the path of redemption and reconciliation. It is an honoring of our “common place of the material world in which we mortals dwell” (Gilbert, p. 437). We cannot, by any means bring the lost one we loved back to life. But Sandra Gilbert in Death’s Door tells us that as writers we can, “as both private griever (an individual facing a grave loss) and a public scribe (a writer setting down words that others will read) convert the particularities of a completed life into elements radiant with new meaning” (Gilbert, p. 437).

That, I discovered months after writing and publishing the book was my purpose in writing Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary. That was my purpose in sharing these reflections and this “Anniversary” poem with you today. May it be so. May the memories of our lives forge futures “radiant with new meaning.

§ Leave Me With A Smile §

Thank You.

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