Cast adrift on my memories,
The past is no friend to the mind.
Mottled sunlight sparkle gives me
Pure glimpses of what I might find.
Searching across the coral years
Diving for pearls in the deep.
To find the truth behind my dreams;
Silent fears from a troubled sleep.
Fear of remembering nothing,
Fear of remembering it all,
Fear of seeing the boy I was;
The pride that preceded the fall.
Flashes of pure reality
Viewed through diaphanous filter.
Out of focus dash through my mind,
An old world all out of kilter.
Mind’s eye movies of what I once knew
A sonic and visual snap.
Photos of the boy of my youth,
Giving the present fool a slap.
I lay and watch those films once more,
Relaxed on the photo stack
Blissfully drifting far away,And wishing to never drift back.
This poem takes a look at a favourite theme of mine; the nature and value of memory / memories. It's probably safe to say that it's a lot of people's favourite theme, especially when they get older, and the journey they're on becomes clearer, more 'fixed' even. They don't see the end of the journey necessarily (although they may) it's just that the route seems to slowly but surely become a lot more clearly defined.
What I like about the poem is the feeling that it 'sees' the theme, without totally understanding it, which is kind of what I was going for, making it in that way at least a successful poem. All we can get from the thoughts and ideas of the narrator is that he cannot really grasp his memories with any certainty, which I can totally relate too, and the sense that he sometimes prefers to daydream about his past than get on with his present; the 'drifting far away' and the 'wishing to never drift back.' Again, I'm right there with him on that.
There's also a sense in which he looks for a clear correlation between his past and his present. I often consider how I got here from there myself, and there're definitely one or two hints of that here, with 'silent fears from a troubled sleep', and 'the boy of my youth giving the present fool a slap.' Of course he doesn't find a 'clear' connection; connection sure, but not so clear, and that again tallies with my experience. It's often difficult to trace a clear line of cause and effect between past and present, even the recent past, and that's when we are working backwards with the added benefit of hindsight.
What in any case, I increasingly find myself asking, are we looking for when we try to make connections with our past? Are we trying to recreate it? Learn from it? Get back some time from it? Somehow change the present? I've nothing to offer in answer to any of these questions, except to say that I've no idea what memories are for, but good ones and bad ones alike, I probably wouldn't part with any of mine... except perhaps 'naturally', and in the fullness of time.