Friday, December 28, 2018

Poetry Friday: Remember

On this, the last Poetry Friday of 2018, I'm remembering. Remembering this year, remembering years past. In February I wrote a "Why I'm Here" poem (you can read it here), and it ended this way:

I’m here to write it all down
and take pictures of all of it
and remember,
even if everyone else forgets:
love, and earthquakes,
and what the hibiscus looks like today.

Ruth, from

Here's a poem about remembering. Remembering that goes beyond thoughts and right down into who you are, your heart and soul. Remembering what you can't forget, even if you want to. Remembering even what hurts.
(Haitian-made ornament from Papillon. I'm thinking I'm going to keep it out when we put away the Christmas stuff.)

What the Heart Cannot Forget

Everything remembers something. The rock, its fiery bed
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub
of watery fingers along its edge.

The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun,
gathering itself together for the fall.

The turtle remembers the sea; sliding over and under
its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down
the sand under the beaks of savage birds.


The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone
it loved, the heart cannot forget.

Joyce Sutphen

I left out two stanzas in the middle, and they are wonderful ones, so click on over to read them.

Donna has today's roundup.


Molly Hogan said...

This is so lovely, Ruth. Each stanza does its part to create a gorgeous whole. Such language and imagery...thanks for sharing and Happy New Year.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Yes, leave that heart hanging out there, to collect the vapor of each day through its tear-shaped holes. I went back to read your birthday poems, and Ruth, I've said it before and I'll say it again, your writing is extraordinary. Would you care to join me this year in an as-yet unspoken pledge to myself to SUBMIT?

I'm suddenly aware of some roiling contradictions in my intentions...

Carol Varsalona said...

The heart cannot forget-such a memorable statement that rings true with me, Ruth. I left a comment on your birthday post. Happy so belated wishes...

Linda B said...

Every bit is the reminder of what we do at year's end, calling up the memories from both ends of the feelings. My son & family visited an old friend of his to meet his new baby this week, thus "and the arms remember lifting up the child" spoke loud to me today. All of us smiled over holding that baby, remembering. Thank you, Ruth, a good one for me this day. Happy New Year!

Tabatha said...

Excellent poem! I like that blog -- thanks for pointing us to it. The poem about Mary from a few days ago is also wonderful.

Donna Smith said...

Thanks for sharing your "why I am here" poem! It is beautiful. Also thanks for sharing Joyce Sutphen's - also beautiful. I agree, that ornament should stay out!

Linda Mitchell said...

Oh, my goodness...what plain language for such wondrous remembering. Thank you for these two poems. They are lovely and close the year well.

Michelle Kogan said...

Thanks for this heartfelt poem on remembering Ruth. It's a sensitive poem and these lines I'll remember…
"the arms remember lifting up the child." And I also like the lines about the tree,
"the way things came
walking slowly towards it long ago."
I think that trees have an inner wisdom, it's there if we're open to it. Your heart ornament is gorgeous–I would leave it out too!

Whispers from the Ridge said...

Thank you for encouraging us to remember the things we hold deep in our hearts. The poems are perfect for this message. Happy New Year to you!

Joyce Ray said...

Remembering poems are so important. And I remember your poem about noticing the hibiscus. I love the images in the Joyce Sutphen poem - so concrete and real.

Mary Lee said...

My heart has had a mom-shaped hole in it this holiday season...that last stanza rings very true to me.

Thanks for sending us back to your Why I'm Here poem. I love it so much. I love knowing that someone is paying attention to the hibiscus in Haiti while I'm looking at clouds in Ohio!

Susan Bruck said...

Thanks for sharing your poem and Joyce Sutphen's, too. Both are lovely. And it's a timely reminder that we--whether we are person or tree or cloud or rock--hold all that has come from the past within us, both painful things and joyful ones.

Happy New Year!

Catherine Flynn said...

Your poem is gorgeous, Ruth. Like Mary Lee, I love the idea of hibiscus blooming somewhere in the world while all is brown and gray here in the northeast. Thank you for sharing "What the Heart Cannot Forget." I shared it several years ago, but hadn't thought of it lately. It's exactly what I needed to read today!

author amok said...

That cloud stanza! I wasn't expecting that veil image. Wonderful.