Monday Morning Musings:

“It is the onion, memory,

that makes me cry.”

From Craig Raine, “The Onion”


“Music, when soft voices die,

Vibrates in the memory—”

–Percy Bysshe Shelley, from “Music When Soft Voices Die (To. ..)


the universe born

from a fire dance

with a bang, barging forth,

endless now, eternal,

remembering the almost

and the always

rounding in long, liquid circles

creating time,

but timeless,

yet there it is–

the secret poetry,

of the dawning day,

hints of light in the darkness.


Leaves turn scarlet and gold

against the azure blue, so bold



but as the air turns crisp and cold

and the leaves fall, uncontrolled


we remember


the bright green of trees and grass,

the calls of birds, the way they dance


into the slanted light of autumn




the scent of stew and bread

and the blankets piled upon the bed—

and yet, still I see

the bee


moving from flower to flower

knowing his hours


are limited

but uninhibited


he flies

and tries–


does he remember?


(What are the dreams of a bee?)


I see the spotted lantern fly,

remember to crush it, say good-bye


dead bug, though I feel some remorse

he’s only doing his job, of course–


but once, did he remember the air

and sunlight, feel despair?


The man in the movie forgets the facts

of his life, he acts


on some written instructions,

and we make assumptions


connect the dots,

but sometimes, blank spots


are filled in with what wasn’t there–

my mom fills these holes in the air


with dreams, believes

things that never happened, perceives


a different time-line, a reality

of what never was and never will be


and so, it goes, we see,


and will we remember this

autumn coming, in starts and fits


but summer stays, and we sit outside

hide (a bit)


from truth, well, who’s to decide

what is right, and what we abide?


We smile, drink wine

enjoy the sun, and life is fine

mostly, though we remember


autumn comes, and pages turn,

emotions churn, we yearn


for things that never were, perhaps

or for our world not to collapse,

City Hall Reflected in a puddle, Merril D. Smith, Philadelphia 2019

City Hall Reflected in a Puddle, Philadelphia

we walk

reflect on the past, talk

of life and a book

and we look


observe, that time moves on

and circles back


and light comes, sometimes at a slant

or through the cracks,


I remember that.


We haven’t had a chance to get to the movies (sigh, maybe when this book is done)– but Dale, we did see a good one on Netflix. Remember. Trailer here.  It’s from 2015, but I don’t remember it in the theaters. It’s much better than the synopsis sounds: a man with dementia follows the written instructions of a fellow nursing home resident to hunt down the man who killed their families at Auschwitz. Well, the director is Atom Egoyan, and it stars Christopher Plummer. Certainly not upbeat, but very well-done, a quiet sort of thriller.












33 thoughts on “Remember

  1. I love this one. It seems more of a piece than your usual musings which are independent thoughts woven through with a common thread. This one is a sustained, lovely piece of writing, melancholy and tender. Like the season, I suppose.

  2. Wonderfully shared week.
    And I love when there is a footnote to me 😉 I actually had that one on my PVR a while back and never got to see it as the system went kaput and I lost all my recordings. I had forgotten about it and now shall hope it’s on the Canadian Netflix too!

  3. “my mom fills these holes in the air / with dreams, believes / things that never happened, perceives / a different time-line, a reality / of what never was and never will be / and so, it goes, we see, … ” I love these lines. I understand it can be distressing to see your mom go through this, and I wonder if this is just the soul’s way to comfort and cope against the medical explanations. You make it sound magical, Merril, whether you intend or not.
    On a different note, I thought you were referencing the movie Memento. I haven’t heard of Remember but will add it to my list 🙂

    • Thank you, Marie. I’m glad I made it sound magical–the reality is not at all. I think there are a few things that she imagines that might be comforting, but there are other times that she knows she is confused. And of course, it’s distressing for us. Yes, I loved Memento, and you’re right, my lines could have applied to it. We both liked Remember.

  4. Waking with a half-remembered dream this morning, trying to reconstruct and find the storyline…perhaps that is what dementia resembles. Your description of your mother fits it so well.
    Sometimes what we seek (or need, maybe) will never fit into a coherent story. (K)

  5. That movie sounds very good. I love your city and homey pix. I would feel strange without them. You know my favorite is the reflection. Memory is such a strange creature, isn’t it?

    • Thanks, Luanne. It was a good movie. Christopher Plummer was excellent. I was pleased with the reflection photo, too. I had taken some shots of City Hall reflected in another building, but the puddle reflection was so much better.

      • I can’t believe Plummer was still going strong as of 2015! I just looked him up. He was born near the end of 1929. He’s 89, so he was 85. I can’t imagine making movies at that age. What was even more amazing was seeing Estelle Parsons in the national tour of August: Osage County 10 years ago when she was 81. That role called for a ton of stamina, energy, strength, night after night.

      • Apparently, he’s still working, too! Did you see him in the movie, “Beginners”? I guess he was young then, only 80 or so. Hahaha. Doing a play–and touring–yes, that must take a lot of stamina.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.