Academic journal article Cross / Cultures

The Day Collector: An Ode

Academic journal article Cross / Cultures

The Day Collector: An Ode

Article excerpt

Something gathers Mondays up and strings them

with the others: Tuesdays, Wednesdays. . . and the bright ones

some recall, and pulls them out again brand-new,

with other things: clear water, white and grey clouds,

slopes where low late afternoon light kindles clearings, trees

and rocks and small birds' iridescent mantles

to astound us who can see; for those who cannot,

but can hear or touch, guitars, strong wind in faces,

sea-sounds, rain and infants' chatter,

loved ones' breasts, and fabric's fall,

hands, hair and beards that brush cheeks, lips,

and under all, wet grass or stubble, flint and sun's heat,

and ice cracking in a glass to melt in mouths -

*

and also memories:

faces flicker in that torrent that is memory

with no memory of itself: each one a shape in all its glory

from the unseen. It's as if a snowflake in a river,

barely glimpsed and gone forever, might resurface in its singleness,

as Dante saw each face move in its pit or choir stall,

reciting lines that are satori, each a life's brief bubble

bursting on the surface of the stream they sink back into

or rise singing in again, and then such faces:

all full knowing, baleful, blissful, with their grimaces

or parted lips, outrush of breath,

wide open gaze of agony or savoured eyes-shut ecstasy

of moment clung to, whether sweet revenge that bites in twinges

in the afterlife of days, or lust that shatters free

the body from all business not its own:

so many floating in that tide -

*

not only faces, moments: words, each witnessing

the memory of itself when once inscribed; when spoken only,

knowing nothing of itself, or where it came from, how

or where it might re-echo in the memory of another,

and herd thoughts unlike those triggered when,

the word first heard, its resonance's end could not be gauged:

the iceberg tip of word in silence, memory, is it,

looms above what's out of sight and mind, to tease

the mind: some story there. …

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