This poem, probably the first properly new one of 2021, was a long time stewing on the back burner. I am still not sure if it is done or that it needs more time. But it is a gesture (Blast! Belay!) at the creative torpor that has descended this year. But, I am reassured by my friend Morag and from an article in the Huffington Post, that I am not alone in experiencing pandemic funk.
Spring is back. The snow melted away by Sunday and we have had days that are practically balmy at 10C. There have been little intervals of sunshine most days. The daffodils are pushing there way out. Soon we will be out tidying up the garden and sowing some of the first seeds. The birds seem fairly merry.
The weekly poem took root on 7th February when I appeared on my friend John Wilmott’s Carrowcrory Cottage Sunday Sessions , which you can find on Facebook or YouTube (https://www.facebook.com/groups/Carrowcrorysessions). The Q&A discussion brought up the topic of the Memory of Water. I am afraid I went away with the faeries for a bit and then my mind floated on the the topic of water as purifier. Fire is also considered a purifier. And Brigid has both fire and water as elemental symbols associated with her cult.
Eventually, my wayward imagination came to play with the purification symbolism of water…and memory.
What Water Remembers In a lough pooling, river flowing, a sea boiling, a cascade weeping tears on stone as it is tripping down the mountain, the village pump, the kitchen tap dripping, atoms dancing in liquid form. Is forgetfulness an act of will or a wilful washing, a rubbing and scrubbing at the stubborn stains of memory? Bit by bit the stain lifts. It shifts its patterns, the parts that fade leave rumours of grease, old grime, and whispers For shame What tried, tested and true failed to keep that memory sharp as the day it marked with a blood red letter? When does the memory stored spool out like old cine film getting plunged in its silver nitrate bath? And rinsed and rinsed and rinsed until the shadow show is in reverse What is memory? What is water? Quencher, purifier, a drowning, a drunkard. What is washed away? What stays? The memory of water is not forgetfulness. It is forgiveness. Copyright © Bee Smith, 2021. All rights reserved.