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Memory's Landscape

"From the beginning I had a sense of destiny, as though my life was assigned to me by fate and had to be fulfilled. This gave me an inner security, and though I could never prove it to myself, it proved itself to me. I did not have this certainty, it had me.”

C. G. Jung, from Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Pantheon Books, 1963)

"The firefly made a faint glow in the bottom of the jar, its light too weak, its color too pale. I hadn’t seen a firefly in years, but the ones in my memory sent a far more intense light into the summer darkness, and that brilliant, burning image was the one that had stayed with me all that time."

Haruki Murakami, from Norwegian Wood (Vintage International, 2000)

People’s memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive.

Haruki Murakami, from After Dark (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007)

(via metaphorformetaphor)

What can I tell you? Everything’s been locked up
for the night, I couldn’t get it for you
if I wanted to. But there must be some way—
it’s drizzling, the lamps along the path are weeping,
wanting to show you this tremendous thing,
boxed in forever, always getting closer.

John Ashbery, closing lines to “Honored Guest,” from Your Name Here: Poems (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000)

Memories come to mind like excavated statues
that have misplaced their heads.

Wisława Szymborska, from “Travel Elegy” in View with a Grain of Sand, trans. Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh (Harcourt, 1995)

(via afallowfield)

A dream is a poem the body writes. Even if we lie to ourselves in the day, the body is compelled to speak its truth at night.

Sandra Cisneros, from Caramelo  (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002)

(via sapatusredbuke)


(via hsaptus)

Memory forms the fabric of human life, affecting everything from the ability to perform simple, everyday tasks to the recognition of the self. Memory establishes life’s continuity; it gives meaning to the present, as each moment is constituted by the past.

Marita Sturken, Tangled Memories: The Vietnam War, the AIDS Epidemic, and the Politics of Remembering  (University of California Press, 1997)

How did we become
what water wanted more than earth? We are dregs
of things, last flickers bobbing, out of the fire
of the sun floating the good days, unclaimed,
as pure as seaweed. If we cry to the stars,
thrown free of waves, what hope thin as finned crusts,
belly up, ichthyan, can beach us in night’s small skiff?
Piece and piece and piece going by. Moonstuffs.

Dave Smith, closing lines to “Stalled on the Ebb Tide,” in Fate’s Kite: Poems, 1991-1995 (Louisiana State University Press, 1996)

Your words are you. You are them and not much more. The Description: the fieldness of fields, the weediness of weeds … When is description mere? Never. A freshness in the seeing, an innocency in the vision, the angle of perception, the bringing together of details, not necessarily as metaphors, even, just as objects. Be one of those on whom nothing is lost. Don’t strain for arrangement. Look and put it down and let your sensibility be the sieve.

Theodore Roethke, from “I Teach Out of Love,” On Poetry & Craft (Copper Canyon Press, 2001)