My Top Ten Poems: #10 “The Past”

     Sometimes I think of the past as though it were a reel of film. A series of individual moments captured and recorded before being spooled up and shelved. A flimsy record of the past collecting dust deep in the cavernous recesses of some ancient library archive.

     Finding myself in this dingy and decrepit archive, I unspool the film and stretch it out with my hands. Holding up the film, I focus in on an individual frame. So that’s how it happened, I think as I realize the past to be different than the perceptions and beliefs I had formulated in my mind.

     Yes, that’s exactly how I think of the past. The past was a real place of free will and choices. A place of unlimited potential that slowly faded as the unrelenting progression of the present pushed over it and onward toward a new day. Thoughts like these are what led to the entirety of this little project of mine. Soon it too will be pushed over by the progression of time. Not yet, though. Now is the time for me to take a little stroll down memory lane by revisiting some of my earlier work by discussing my top ten favorite poems.

     In at number ten is the poem that started it all, “The Past”:

The Past

Only remnants remain,
Ruins and ghosts,
Trying to speak to us
Across a great chasm;
But we cannot hear
And must imagine,
Interpret, and reinvent.

     “The Past” is the first poem that I published on this site. As such it certainly deserves a spot in my list of the top 10 poems that I have written. Looking back at it now, I can certainly see why I decided to kick off The Past, Present, and Future with it.

     When I wrote it, I wanted “The Past” to be a piece that would both encapsulate the main idea behind my first collection and also be able to stand on its own. I opted for a short piece that illustrated the fleeting nature of the past. Indeed, the past is not a place that we can reach. That being the case, there is a quite a bit of imagination, interpretation, and reinvention in our understanding of it. That idea winds its way through my whole collection to a certain degree.

     Well, that’s it for now. Next month I’ll discuss poem number nine. In the meantime, feel free to perhaps spend some time thinking about the past and what it means to you.

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10 thoughts on “My Top Ten Poems: #10 “The Past”

  1. This is a fascinating post and project! I love to imagine the past as the reel of a film! Good idea!! So many details are forgotten and those I remember aren’t often remembered by those around me. Sometimes I can’t even believe what others remember about it. And it’s just the same with their past. We just remember different things, mostly because our focus was different or because we ‘ve reinvented it? Somehow it’s a film more in black and white, or similar to dreams, whereas presence is coloured. Cheerio, Petra

  2. nice poem; call me old fashioned, Cody, but poems this short and succinct usually profit with rhymes. I lookforward to your other nine poems. Can we select our own favourite at the end ?

    • You are probably right about the rhymes. As I wind down this project, I’ve already begun work on another one. In that one, I’ll make sure to heed your advice. Also, yes feel free to select your own favorite in the end. That would be cool!

  3. A blast from the past, this one! The past is a weird one,it all depends on the mindset at any one time.but for me its that thing that I wasted a lot of…and still do way too often.

  4. Pingback: SIPPING WHISKEY NEAT | Cody McCullough Writes:

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