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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Poem Analysis: now i know

     Author intention and reader interpretation sometimes vary wider than the width of the Milky Way. Fortunately for me, the regular readers of this blog have proven to be very astute in their interpretations of my work. This helps me to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that my work hasn’t been misinterpreted.

        When it comes to reader interpretation, I’ve always taken the approach that a poem, or any other type of written work for that matter, has its own unique meaning to each individual reader. Personally, I love to see the different ways that others interpret my writing. Often, I purposefully create double-meanings as a way of both layering my writing and creating avenues for diverging interpretations.

        All that being said, though, I do have specific ideas in mind when writing any given piece. As I transition this blog to the focus of pulling back the curtain on my writing process, I figured it would be a good idea to analyze some of my previous work.

        What better place to start than at the end. “now i know” is the last poem of both the Lost in Time collection and The Past, Present, and Future collection as a whole. As such, I wanted it to be a piece that spoke for itself but also the entirety of the collection.

        One of the messages that I  worked to convey through “now i know” was the power of self reliance. Many of the institutions that surround us in this world want us to shed our own personal judgment and replace it with doctrine. Funny thing, though, I’ve yet to find the institution in this world that has been right all the time. Institutions make mistakes just like people. Their truths are not doctrine, their more metaphorical in nature. Metaphors can be useful and comforting but shouldn’t be relied upon wholly when making judgments.

        When making judgments, I believe that people should rely upon themselves. If you’re going to do this, however, it is 100% imperative that you educate yourself. Education and knowledge are the cornerstones of any self reliant person. After that, life is all about choices. The best way to make the right choices in life is to make educated decisions. Once you’ve figured that out, you can leave the doctrine and dogma of institutions where they belong: in the past. When you do, life becomes about living in the present. A place where educated people have the ability to make choices that will hopefully pave the way toward a brighter future for everyone and this small planet that we live on.

        Well, there you have it. That’s my poem analysis of “now i know”.  I hope this analysis helped to pull back the curtain on this poem and my writing process as a whole. Until next time, keep livin’ in the present people.

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