Sunday, July 31, 2011


Where is the experience that meant so much,
That carried such weight? Where is it now
If not lodged in memory, in the air of memory,

In the place that is not a place, but where
The mortal beauty of the world is stored.
Oh yes, we are busy under the moon's gaze,

Its mouth giving back a silent O of surprise
Each time we try to explain how it was,
How fleeting, breakable, expensive it was.

We are always about to take off into a future
Unencumbered, as if we could leave ourselves behind,
But of course we never do. Who can face the future,

Especially now, as a nobody with no past
To fall back on, nothing to prove one is
Like everyone else, with baby pictures

And pictures of Mom and Dad in their old-fashioned
Swimsuits on a beach somewhere in the Maritimes.
We are at work on the past to make the future

More bearable. Ah, the potential past, how it swells,
How it crowds the days before us with feelings
And postures we had dismissed until now.

Mark Strand
from Dark Harbor