Partial


Thoughts of childhood
acquire bluish hues,
for me,
washing them
to a safe antiquity.

Self-images,
which we,
as little cubists

construct, pile on
in layered memories,
giving us a past

we can only just
quite see,
through our need to be someone else.

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6 thoughts on “Partial

  1. I really like this poem, its beautiful concision (and what appears to be its companion piece – ‘When we were modern’), not just because I’ve been reading Pessoa, but because this is something I think about from time to time, and the mystery of why different people remember (and forget) differently.

    • Jesus! Mark. Pessoa ruined me as a writer for a while, as I went through a phase of absorbing what his various writer selves were giving me. And then, my own attempts to regurgitate. This thing, I tried to play on “partial” and apply that to the incomplete notion we base ourselves on. And yes , companion piece of “when we were modern” both sparked off by a couple of lines in an anthology of modern french poetry by women compiled ant translated by Martin Sorrell entitled … Elles

      • Maybe we’re on a similar wavelength. I just bought an anthology of contemporary French poetry. It’s strange, thinking about the past. Sometimes we’re afraid of losing it, even when we have spent years trying to forget.

      • And while we talk of french poetry, Mark, let me proselytise for a moment and recommend Francis Ponge’s Unfinished Ode to Mud as translated by Beverley Bie Brahac… A collection of prose poems, or proemes, which I suspect may tickle your fancy.

  2. Now this is uncanny. Ponge is not only one of my heroes, but I’ve been reading one of his books, ‘The Power of Language’, and thinking about writing about his books in English translation. ‘Ode to Mud’ is one of the 2 or 3 I don’t have and have been shopping for a copy of it.

    • The Brahic translation is a thing of beauty, it consists of several pieces from Le Parti Pris des Choses and some from Pièces. I already had a couple of versions of Le Parti… but what she produced struck a core in me. So much so that I’ve started buying up translations she has done of Apollinaire and Hélène Cixous, along with her own poetry in White Sheets.
      It’s a first for me, reading pieces because of who the translator is.
      And as for you, Mark, the next time we bump into each other as we tread our way along the paths of the collective unconscious, we must stop and say hello.

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