Rummager of times
Memoirs mimics mimes
(A Collage of this blogger)
Rummager of times
Memoirs mimics mimes
(A Collage of this blogger)
It was a Transient moment in time in 2007 and we were in a tourist bus. We were on a tour bus. The mountain seemed so near all of a sudden. So were you. I thought for a moment that time had stood still and we would never age, or that we would slowly grow old together taking our own time. We went to the usual tourist attractions. Good food, drinks, hot springs, gardens, night life in the cities etc. Why do I dig out this ten year old picture and try to recall the mountain today? After parting for so long? I have been pondering on a word lately . It is called, “lingering”, and it means “lasting for a long time and slow to end.” But sadly it does end in the end. Time sets a limit for phases of life, no matter our perception and determination to hold fast, and in reality its name is called, “transient”, which means lasting only for a short time, fleeting, passing, impermanent. Someone may say that a mountain is unlike a man. It will remain after the human travelers are gone. Yes, for a time. Yet, if you consider the real age of the creation you will agree that a mountain too has a limit in time. I still keep the pictures of you smiling and posing with the beautiful snowy mountain in the background. It was such a clear day. You looked so young and happy. Ten years. So soon. So transient. Today you told me in tears that you could not bear to have me vanishing from your life, living alone somewhere…Yes, we both need a miracle. We both believe in miracles. Memories are miracles. Like the lilac bedroom paint you liked so much, with the name “Forget-me-not”.
I admit that sometimes I cannot help but recall the lingering lyrics from a song by Garfunkel,
When the singer’s gone
Let the song go on…
But the ending always comes at last
Endings always come too fast
They come too fast, but they pass to slow
I love you, and that’s all I know
(I translated, re-written and re-named this love song. I call it Gracefully love)
Even if I should come once to
in one dash
one kairos moment
in one billion years
joining you so brief
for all its sweet tears
and all its grief
Well, let all that must happen
happen in a flash
let me bow
thanking all the stars
holding you I won’t let go
penning this poem now
with an unseen hand
slowly growing old
holding you I won’t let go
(1983 Taiwan Campus Folk Song) The original love poem was written by the Mongolian painter/poet/writer MuRong Xi , music by Su Lai 作詞：席幕容，作曲：蘇來
(Poem II) “Since we parted –2” (I translated this second poem, rewritten, but tried to follow the original pattern of her thought)
And now I realize
what we have slowly squandered off
is one life we both have loved
our whole life, my beloved!
别後——之二 ◎席慕蓉 (MuRong Xi wrote this poem during her grief for the demise of her husband)
Blogger’s notes: photo credit goes to La Center’s Greg Marshall who photographs a universe most never imagine. By training, Marshall is an electronics engineer and computer-imaging expert, but the stars have led him into art. He catches images many light years away. I got it at random while browsing.
The poems are about love and loss. Instead of choosing sentimental pictures I decided to use the stars of the universe. The first poem took on a new meaning…I then decided to alter the poem to a hopeful end. A happy and prosperous Lunar New Year for my Asian friends!
I too feel fascinated by some names, especially the names of shops or brands. Here are some Names which I found a year ago in my last visit to a shopping mall in CA. Shops are named: Pink in Life, The Picture People, Walking Company. I particularly like the idea of a shop named “Things Remembered”. We all have things we do not forget. There was an old song titled, “Don’t forget to remember”. Love is something hard to forget. Humans are by nature remembering creatures. The older we get the more we have accumulated things we like to remember in our memories, some vivid, some vague. Some real and some imagined. Some with sad endings, some good. I stumbled on a Tv program that helped long separated old friends to find each other after decades. Quite touching stories emerged. When I grow old enough perhaps I too write a letter to the long lost one and ask for an appointment with a poem.
If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda
If You Forget Me
I want you to know
You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.
If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.
if each day,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.
Listen to a reading of the beautiful poem at the following link:
Notes about the shop: Things Remembered began over 40 years ago as a small engraving and services shop called “Can Do”. And today, Things Remembered has grown into the nation’s leading, and most successful, retailer of personalized gifts. (online information quoted)
My Resilient love for you. I find it hard not to say I love you, and harder not to love you even in silence, with my heart saying I love you over 8000 days and nights. A thousand days seems a long time for some love. But my love for you, not even eight thousands days can be too long.
How did I first start to love you? Can I really remember? A young man asked today. Of course, I answered. I remember very well. I never forget. How can I ever forget that fateful evening when I stepped into a packed hall and saw you standing on stage and speaking, with your velvety black eyes so dark and yet so full of light? How can I ever forget the passionate love you spoke to my heart through your heart? I remember so well the jet black long hair blown under the ceiling fan, the lightly stirred white dress with tiny blue flowers you wore that day. I remember the voice. Your voice. I was a stranger, standing at the back, watching like a bystander. But your words of true passion and love touched my soul. Your words of kindness and compassion reached my core. I fell in love from that moment on and remain in love for eight thousands days.
No, I never forget.
The young man of 22 is facing a crisis. His loved one has gone faraway to study. His frequent short social media chat messages are becoming stale to her eyes. What is he going to do? He asks. He says that it’s futile to ask anyway because I probably have forgotten how to love when young at his age. LOL, how can I ever forget? We don’t forget. Not in a mere eight thousand days. Not even in eight thousand years.
How do I maintain and sustain my love for you? He asks. Well, I do one thing which few did then and even fewer do today. I write a letter a day to my love. Sometimes you received a weeks’ letters at one go when the postman went on leave. I became a resilient love letter writer. In those days we used typewriter and posted our letters through snail mail. Yes we managed, across oceans we wrote to each other. We did not have smart cell phone or email or any of the social media message channels then. We merely wrote in long hand or type with a manual Olivetti typewriter. The simplicity of our tools did not hinder us one bit.
How do I know you read my letters and not ignore them? He asks. Well, I persisted. I wrote by faith and not by sight. I wrote like you enjoyed reading them and indeed looked forward to receiving them. Somehow one day it all came true. What did I write about? I wrote about the you in my heart, the dreams and hopes for a future together, and my thankfulness for your life crossing mine as two stars meeting at the appointed time and space, even if only momentarily painting the dark night sky with brilliance of eight thousand sparks.
I tell him our 8000 days’ love story. He is the first person I tell. After listening he seems subdued and finally breaks his long silence and says he will start writing a letter to his faraway loved one.
That is why I am writing to you now, this letter of resilient love. 8000 days and still counting. Does old love not fade or perhaps die? This last question the young man thinks but does not ask. Well, I might as well answer his unuttered question. No, eight thousand days is but eight days young. Like the stars, our love is a young love.
a Nostalgia look.
He likes to look at some old things, things of another era. Of course neither she nor he belongs to those ages. They are far too young to have any idea of what life was like in those times. But he has heard stories from parents and grandparents of the time they were. It is hard to imagine that these loved ones had been through another time and space of which he has no part. Like this old car, sitting calmly in a museum as an serene early retiree who has maintained herself well. Yes, 1953 is not really a long way away. Nostalgia is a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. Somehow when he walks into this old car museum he seems to have met these cars before. He can feel a sentiment of something, like a long gone association which has come back. He has never owned an old car. Was it in a movie when he imagined him driving one with her beside him? Somewhere in time? No, she always says, don’t look back, I am not there.
Mirror a wordless reflection one morning in winter. Wordless beauty.
Looking at this today brings back long gone memory of a time when he first had a glimpse of her in the mirror. She was getting ready to go to work. He watched her at the door. He could only see her back. But then he saw her smiling in the mirrored reflection. She has her way of smiling which captures heart. Many years ago. Sparkling eyes smiling. He never forgets that smile. Wordless and yet beautiful. He cannot forget.