Friday, October 20, 2017

Palimpsest

We stopped celebrating
it
was irrelevant now.
Anniversaries can survive
the things they celebrate
only for so long.
And then the date goes back
to being itself,
only itself,
and nothing more...
And we to being strangers again.

But the slate is never clean;
the pressure lines remain
there, in the paper
where the writing once was.

(Originally posted on October 26, 2006)

7 comments:

katy said...

i think you shocked us with this one, dear. i read it when you posted it; close enogh anway. but i still don't know exactly what to say in response. maybe your other readers feel the same.
the previous poem was almost uplifting. then you use your poetic powers to reconstruct that stale taste in our mouths. that taste we are alwayws hoping will be washed away for ever with that one poem, but always comes back in the next one.
i guess, in other words, you have this amazing ability to make us all feel what you feel and react the way you react. with silence.

arch.memory said...

What a nice and involved way to say "bummer"! ;)
No, kidding aside, perhaps one clarification I should make is that, even though these 2 (actually 3) most recent poems involve anniversaries, they are different anniversaries (another reason why I hate the fall; it seems to be anniversary season of sorts). But such is life, one thing fills for another. And perhaps that's all we can handle, and it's life's way of self-regulating...
But thanks for spinning the positive out of it!

Mirvat said...

i saw it as submitting to habits or people as they become part of us, becoming naturally part of the thing we celebrate, letting go of the moods we try to create around th celebrated event because the event becomes part of life that we celebrate daily.. i thought it was a very positive thought ..

arch.memory said...

Hmm, that's a good way of looking at it!

_z. said...

ashraf, a beautiful poem indeed.

I liked it a lot. I was going to post a graphic with the title palimpsest also... I am going to hold off, as to give yours the appreciation I want to give it. Does that make sense? it does to me.

Numbers and dates are numbers and dates. they only take on meaning when we assign memories to them. I think the reason why those numbers never leave us, even after they mean less to us, is that our own life is also measured by numbers and dates. dated memories are a beacon, or a point of reference for our lives on this earth. we would lose orientation if we lost them. You have to be able to say on this day... i did this and that, or this date celebrates this memory or even this nightmare that I want to forget.
You have to keep track, you have to measure, and you have to count. This is how you keep track of your presence and your contribution to this life.

Anonymous said...

I see it as life. Humans created dates and numbers and life trudges or glides along and, whether it be a national day of mourning or a world wide remembrance of some ancient event, the world might well suddenly burst into war therefore giving us another date to remember, or an earthquake might swallow thousands or millions and another date raises its ugly head...or some tyrant may invade a sovereign nation and another date is born and within the quagmire springs up hundreds of others...etc. We spend more time creating anniversaries than our minds can hold. One may find an anniversary in something that we do not and visa versa and that compounds the individual rememberances until some become merely numbers on a calendar, nothing more than itself.

Ashraf,
But the slate is never clean;
the pressure lines remain
there, in the paper
where the writing once was.


A thing of beauty my friend.

arch.memory said...

Ziad, that does make sense; still, I would be very interested in seeing that graphic. I think by now we already established that "great minds think alike" ;) No, seriously, I actually first encountered the palimpsest concept as an architectural one, which is what makes me more eager to see that graphic.

Mark, that's very true. I was actually thinking of personal anniversaries, but you're right, the same absurd combination of arbitrariness and necessity applies to national and global events...

Thank you both for your comments!