Turn Aside and Look: Remembering the Air of Childhood

sunsetkids

japanpansy2

 

I wanted to treat feelings that are not recognized as afflictions and are never diagnosed by doctors. All those little feelings and emotions no therapist is interested in,
because they are apparently too minor and intangible.
The feeling that washes over you when another summer nears its end.
Or when you recognize that you haven’t got your whole life left to find out where you belong.
Or the slight sense of grief when a friendship doesn’t develop as you thought,
and you have to continue your search for a lifelong companion.
Or those birthday morning blues.
Nostalgia for the air of your childhood.
Things like that.

~Nina George from The Little Paris Bookshop

 

sweetpeas15

A white vase holds a kaleidoscope of wilting sweet peas
captive in the sunlight on the kitchen table while

wafting morning scent of pancakes
with sticky maple syrup swirls on the plate,

down the hall a dirty diaper left too long in the pail,
spills over tempera paint pots with brushes rinsed in jars after

stroking bright pastel butterflies fluttering on an easel
while wearing dad’s oversized shirt buttoned backwards

as he gently guides a hand beneath the downy underside
of the muttering hen reaching a warm egg hiding in the nest

broken into fragments like a heart while reading
the last stanza of “Dover Beach” in freshman English

Just down the hall of clanging lockers
To orchestra where strains of “Clair de Lune” accompany

the yearning midnight nipple tug of a baby’s hungry suck
hiccups gulping in rhythm to the rocking rocking

waiting for a last gasp for breath
through gaping mouth, mottled cooling skin

lies still between bleached sheets
illuminated by curtain filtered moonlight just visible

through the treetops while whoosh of owl wings
are felt not heard, sensed not seen.

Waking to bright lights and whirring machines
the hushed voice of the surgeon asking

what do you see now, what can you hear, what odor,
what flavor, what sensation on your skin

with each probe of temporal lobe, of fornix
and amygdala hidden deep in gray matter

of neurons and synaptic holding bins of chemical transmitters
storing the mixed bag of the past and present

to find and remove the offending lesion that seizes up
all remembrance, all awareness

and be set free again to live, to love, to swoon at the perfume
of spring sweet peas climbing dew fresh at dawn,

tendril wrapping over tendril,
the peeling wall of the garden shed

no more regrets, no more grief
no more sorrow.

barnwindowfall

 

4 thoughts on “Turn Aside and Look: Remembering the Air of Childhood

  1. Lovely. Your verse. Your photos.

    There are two mourning doves on the power line outside my front window. They are regulars and give me hope. I am feeling better again and looking forward to all of life. Thankful to God and my dear husband for carrying me through the darkness again.

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  2. OMG, Emily.
    Nina George’s poem, your evocative short essay–
    My soul is trembling — with remembrances and pathos….

    Like

  3. So hauntingly beautiful. Did you write the second part? Is the neurological episode experience yours? Didn’t know things could be like that. I had a stroke myself a couple of years back. God bless you and all you do! And thanks for the daily postings.

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  4. I wrote the poem on a theme of “memory” for a writing assignment and chose to look at how memories are stored connected but randomly in our brains as illustrated in an “awake” neurosurgery. Not me, but just a witness to the miracle of how brain surgeons sometimes try to avoid damaging critical parts of the brain when removing a lesion causing seizures or a tumor.

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