Thursday, 3 November 2016

Nature, Poetry of Remembrance

Update (May 2016): A reader has been in touch to ask for the link to an interview I recently gave a student at my old university (some 40+ years ago) about my poetry for a multi-media project on 'an interesting person'. It was fun. Moreover, it warms the cockles of this septuagenarian's heart to know people still find me interesting. Unfortunately, this reader used the Comments button, but did not include an e-mail address so I am posting it again here.]  (NB. Copy into your browser to access this link.)


My mother died in 1976. I once asked her what she wanted out of life. She replied, ‘All I ask is that people remember and think well of me after I’m dead. I'd so like to be more than a photo on the mantelpiece," she added almost as an afterthought. 

What more can any of us ask for, eh?

Oh, I didn't quite get it at the time. I do now. Oh, yes, especially in springtime when I go for a walk in the countryside; I can see her smile and hear her voice everywhere I look... or... when I get home and listen to Shirley Bassey, her favourite singer...or... visit an art gallery and enjoy the Turner landscapes she loved...

Art, like nature, is always with us. Nature, though, is very much a living organism in its own right while art relies on the observer (or listener) to achieve much the same. Memories, too, are always with us, especially those surrounding loved ones. Yes, art can stir memories. Nature, though, offers a more direct route, reminding us that all living things, not just people, have their seasons, pass away and come again...

For me, it is this sense of spirituality that nature offers which transcends precious memories into a life-force in a way no religion ever could, and gives the poem its title.


Come a time I’ll close my eyes forever,
never again observe a waking day,
think of me with love as a new sun rises,
and weep not, but look for me there

Come a time I’ll close my ears forever.
hear dawn’s sweet chorus no more,
think of me as heavens make glad music,
and weep not, but listen for me there

Come a time my senses fail me forever,
never again smell a rain-kissed earth,
think of me as flowers open their petals,
and weep not, but walk with me there

Come a time we’ll have run life’s gamut,
may the dream that was ours never fade,
but merge into Earth Mother’s natural art
created for all our sakes and we for it

Copyright R. N. Taber 2007; 2016

[Note: This poem first appeared under the title, 'Rhetoric of Mortality, Poetry of Life' in Accomplices to Illusion: poems by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2012; rev. ed. in e-format in preparation.]

No comments :