Tag Archives: memories

And that’s just you

IMG_0637Do you think that I could ever forget the sound of your voice?
Or not remember the look of your eyes?
Do you think that I cannot stop, and in stopping, pause
and in pausing bring me back to when and where I want?

Nor do I exhume those memories, I am them;
I see the once, I feel the when, I taste the where and I breathe,
(deep and long) and I am me (the me then) while you, you’re my
always you—then, now and forever; and beyond that forever
whenever that forever ends. That’s what constancy
is.

swril2

The first three weeks of March is the period of the Bahá’í fast, when Bahá’ís abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Although the fast is a wonderful time of spiritual renewal, unfortunately, for health reasons, my sister, Lucinda, cannot participate in the physical side of the process, so it is my honor each year to fast for the both of us. This poem comes out of a conversation we had one night during the fast.

This poem is in thanks for the privilege of having been her brother all my life.

The photograph was taken at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its copyright holder.

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George Harrison’s 12 string Rickenbacker

up

Fit once for merely banging around
it rests somewhere I suppose,
in some display, old, worn,
rubbed and cracked, perfect in every way.
Unable not to, in my mind’s eye, I reach out,
hitting the barrier of glass, if not memory:
and there—innocently enough—it cries, laughs,
is loud but strangely far away, one grand chime,
singing and running, happy once again, once more.
I can always, I thought, if I want, when I do,
be back there for an hour in a second.
But then?

It was a world, but it was just a world
and is a world now going, soon gone,
no regrets—well, some—but that gets you nowhere
so no, none. I smile as I reach out again,
soon gone. But not now, not today,
not yet, not gone.
Play on.

That opening chord and scene of The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night: what a perfect memory for that era.  (Not to mention the granddaddy prototype of all music videos!) If you don’t know it, check it out here on YouTube. It was made possible by George Harrison acquiring a unique sounding 12 string electric guitar, made by Rickenbacker. (In fact there were two, an early prototype and a full production model.) It is hard, today, to understand what a powerful and trend-setting effect it had on popular music. For one example: so impressed by the sound was a young musician, Roger McGuinn, that he bought one and founded the legendary 60’s band The Byrds around it.

Thank you for reading George Harrison’s 12 string Rickenbacker. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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Blessed be the hand that slips

Each morning I shave an illustrated man
and memories glide beneath my razor.
Yours is a rainbow that sings of crystal
in many hues of light,
while yours is a bell that plays a dirge
to softly call down the night.
And yours is the river and yours the tree,
and yours the scent of spring blossoms.

But yours—yes, yours—yours is the blade
that moves across my throat—
up and then up and then up and then up.
And what is that little drop of red
that stains through the white
to make no sound at all? That too is you
and you—yes, you—you are the loudest of all.
Up.

The Illustrated Man is an early science fiction book by Ray Bradbury. Made into a movie in 1969, it explores the relationship of man to the world. The main character has a series of tattoos that move over his body that predict the future and make him into a time traveler.

Is it just me or do we all often daydream as we go through the mundane chores of our life, remembering past incidents and people we have interacted with?

Thank you for reading Blessed be the hand that slips. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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Doggerel

Tell me a tale of pigs-in-pokes
and beans and groats
and all took slow to market.
Where Jack falls down
like a ribald fool clown
and Jill is broke thereafter.
Yes, tell me please,
because I sit here ill-at-ease
and everyone, it seems, agrees:
the dish just ran away from the spoon.

Thank you for reading Doggerel. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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Weights

Weights on me, weights on you
weights in the fixed frames we’ve become:
smiles in blue, cheeks in red,
heartbeats in that odd shade of rapid.

But gone? No never,
that’s not the way it plays out, at least not for me.
It was and is a race where you chase only yourself,
which is wearisome, but apparently fun too—
because I never did learn to make it stop.
And if it makes you become who you are,
that’s only after it becomes what you’ve made it,
and that just seems so unfair:
half the time you don’t even know you’re in the running.

And what do so many folks drag along in this race,
even if they don’t know they’re set to lose?
But of course you know: weights on them,
weights on me, weights on the fix thereafter.
The odd thing is, that that’s the part that matters.

A friend once joked that I, like many others (mainly those raised as Catholics and Jews) are life long members of G.U.I.L.T: Group Under the Influence of Liturgical Training. Perhaps the old saying, “Many a true word is spoken in jest” is appropriate here.

Thank you so much for reading Weights. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem, either alone or with the notes that accompany it, may be printed and distributed—in part or amalgamated with other works—as long as the copyright notice and the address, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com, are also clearly printed with it and there is no fee charged.

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Chemo Café

All,

I would like to introduce you to a wonderful poet, Ms. Julia Dean-Richards. I have been following her poetry blog, aplaceforpoetry for some time now and wanted, out of my great admiration for her work, to highlight one of her poems, Chemo Café, an excerpt of which is below:

In this lively, loving place
anxiety etched on every face
my comfort is a cushioned chair
a pillow and designer hair.

I absolutely love this poem. I found the concept of treating a chemo therapy treatment center as a café as incredibly courageous and clearly coupled with a powerful, purposeful view of life and living. Julia has told me that the sessions are now long over and “there is nothing to worry about.” And while I am certain that her current health is the product of a professional and modern health system, I am equally certain that her health is also a product of her positive, committed view.

And incredible writing skills, of course!

My wife, Lyn, and I host a monthly interfaith devotional in our home. Everyone is encouraged to share a poem, story, prayer, idea, picture or image that encapsulates their understanding of the spiritual nature of the devotion’s theme. This past month the theme of the devotional was, “Into the Light.” I read Julia’s poem as my offering because I could think of no other poem that expressed such a wonderful sense of light and buoyancy.

While at Julia’s blog, please also check out Snailbeach Tails, her magical, illustrated book for everyone who loves stories.

Thank you for reading Chemo Café. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting both the Book of Pain and aplaceforpoetry. As always, I look forward to your comments as will Julia, I am sure, at her blog.

john

The comments are © 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The excerpt from Chemo Café is © 2013 by Julia Dean-Richards and used with permission from the author; all rights reserved. Neither this excerpt from the poem or these comments that accompany it may be printed or distributed in any form whatsoever.

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