Thursday, 29 May 2014

Preserving Memories

06:35:00 Posted by Lara Clayton , , , , , , 4 comments


I imagine you sitting on a pool of mercury
Like Styrofoam on water
You do not sink

The faces of your family and friends
Dark shadows cast on the light
That now holds you

Somewhere beneath the surface
Memories are suspended
in glass storage jars

Like catching smoke
I struggle to remember the details
Blurred with time

Until one rises from the haze
Sharp and clear
Perfectly preserved

Like an ammonite in sedimentary rock
It places you in this world
Still here.

(In memory of Laila Antoun)



Colin Davies said...

"I imagine you sitting on a pool of mercury"

This image is incredible and fills my mind with pictures of oceans, waves after wave of liquid metal.

And then I read the next line and mind explodes in a mixture of emotions and ideas.

Thank you, I truly adore this piece.

vicky ellis said...

Really sorry for your loss Lara. I hope you're OK. I just had a couple of comments about the poem although I realise it is both very new and personal.

Somewhere beneath the surface

1) I struggled with this because I wasn't sure whether we were looking beneath the surface of the mercury you were imagining Laila sitting on or beneath the surface of your thoughts. Or maybe I'm missing the point and the memories are stored in glass jars beneath the surface of mercury you have placed her on?

2) Is the styrofoam relevant to her character? It's an interesting image and, against the mercury, seems like it must point to something personal.

3) I love the idea of memories functioning like fossils but to my mind they only do so once they are out in the open, such as this poem, set into words? Perhaps that could be alluded to?

It is a beautiful tribute and the image that stays with me is one of the light that holds her. There's a real lightness to the whole piece in fact. Thank you for sharing this with us xx

Lara Clayton said...

Hi Vicky,

I appreciate your feedback and it will certainly help with future drafts of the poem. I suspect - as this is a 4am first draft - that the changes will be significant.

1) I guess the 'beneath the surface' was meant to mean beneath the surface of the mercury. I was thinking of storage jars almost wrapped by the liquid, neither sinking nor floating. Perhaps they could be suspended in the air above the mercury on strings, or maybe just placed on shelves?

2) The Styrofoam isn't relevant to the character but I was concerned the preposition on the line before might not be strong enough to carry meaning. I was worried the reader might think the 'on' had mistakenly been used instead of in, but perhaps I should trust that the reader understands the properties of mercury.

3) I had the same worry when I wrote the line about fossils. I was struggling a little by this point and was lazy to not force myself to think a little harder.

Anyway, thank you for the feedback.

Christo said...

The image that catches me is of trying to catch smoke as we try somehow to retain clear images of anyone we have lost - very powerful piece, Lara.

Thanks for Sharing.