Friday, February 19, 2010

For What Remains



I touch things
like the child I was,

all the familiar things
that kept me safe.

Depression salvage -
handled, used, re-used, 
stained, rusted -
tended and brought to the present.

Sacks of memories -
fragmented histories
stacked neatly in liquor boxes -

The apron she was wearing
when she caught me at the bottom
of the basement stairs -

The crystal stemware
that sang with
moistened fingers -

The meaning of things
like her mind.

Walls hold the plot
of our lives;
stand blameless
like change.

I sweep the floor
to clear the effort it took
to place her, replace this -

With a gentler fate.

© 2010 by Kathryn Feigal. All rights reserved. 


  1. Aw, Kass ~ venerable things. Thank you for sharing them from the cedar chest that is your life and was her life.

  2. this brought tears. all the things that walk us through the stages of our lives, that remind us of where we were, and where we are. what tells us where we're going?

  3. similar thoughts shared today ...

  4. It is a poem now.

    I am impressed by how things are so intertwined with memories. Your words give me the feeling of that house.

  5. Thank you for sharing this Kass. For me, whose family was constantly on the move; sometimes several within year I became attached to the small personal possessions that made the move. The rest was ephemeral, there one year then gone the next. You teach me a sense of permanence even within so much change.

  6. Your words ARE poetry, Kass - and beautiful at that. But you know, although we carry artefacts to symbolise the lives and memories of those we cherish, we forget that we, too, are vessels for remembering. One day you'll catch sight of yourself and you'll see what I mean: we carry our most cherished within us.

  7. I had to move my mother into a dementia care facility when she was 98. She died 2 years later. It was a difficult experience altogether, but she remained essentially herself until the last. I brought her back home a few weeks before she died. I know what a difficult thing this must be for both of you.

  8. The poem is lovely, Kass and the photos that capture the past and present in the table cloth are haunting. Black and white and eple as opposed to the colour shot that's occupied only by ghosts.

    This is wonderful, Kass. You are perhaps preoccupied with your mother at this time.

    Thank you.

  9. LES - You do love that venerable word. Now I do too. I have great respect for it, you and my mementos. These things come from deep inside the chest which is not cedar. Thanks for recognizing all.

    STANDING - Yes, where we came from, where we are, and perhaps, where we are going. Your comment reminds me I don't want to stay stuck in the past with these things.

    S. ETOLE - Your photo of the stemware is enthralling. Thank you for leading me to it.

    JULIE - Thank you. I find your blog most creatively captivating.

    TODD - Thank you. I'm hoping when you come in May you can stroll through her house of memories.

    TAG - I can't really imagine what it must have been like to move so often. You must have set up a permanent place in your head - you seem so grounded.

    RACHEL - Your "vessels of remembering", and the way you word all your thoughts brought tears to my eyes. I know I'm vulnerable, but you do have great talent to move with your words.

    20th CENTURY WOMAN - So glad you stopped by. I enjoyed visiting your blog. You are a woman after my own heart.

    ELISABETH - There is no perhaps about it. I am preoccupied. I hope to have a new occupation soon. I wasn't sure why I placed the photo on the tablecloth, but you're right - ghosts.

  10. "To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward". ~Margaret Fairless Barber, The Roadmender

    Dear Kass, things will work out, it's said that when we are close to achieve our dream the Universe test our will. So, keep strong and following your heart.


  11. Thank you, GABI. Where do you get all your quotes? They are perfect. If I followed my heart, I'd be off in all directions. So I'll sit awhile and see if my heart settles.

  12. Hi Kass, this is so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing! The photos, too, are really striking. My aunt has Alzheimer's and has been living in a home for a few years now, and I empathize with you. I agree with everyone else that it's already a poem.

  13. This is such a loving yet melancholy piece. It gave me a few tears which says it is a wonderful verse housing so many memories. Well done.

  14. The picture choices was perfect for what you wrote. It said so much.

    The way that you wrote this really has a way of pulling out memories in my past that I forgot were there.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Tom Bailey

  15. Kass, thank you so much for these thoughts and pictures... and for revealing so much of your emotions at this time. Helps me understand all that's going on. I love that picture of Nanny and Gpa! They look like "Oh, let's just sit down here and keep house, shall we?!" And Nanny the Beauty! I've never seen a picture of her quite like that. Wow, pre war-separation. Must be a bit haunting to walk through the house n

  16. ALANNA - Thanks for your empathy and kind words and for the free copy of the book I won on your blog!

    POETIC - Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your words and your lovely blog.

    TOM - I'm glad you were reminded of some memories. Anne Tyler's writing does that for me, especially Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant.

    MARCIA - I love your "Oh, let's just sit down here and keep house" caption. Just perfect! Yes, it is a bit haunting to walk through the house with Nanny not there.

  17. reading you tonight there is so much i can relate to, so many parallels i feel... so many words and stories that come like a flood, washing right through me... so much i could say... reading your comment at Jonas' earlier i knew there was something pulling me toward you, and now i understand that better... your words speak from a beautifully tender heart and reach right out and give a voice to the hearts of others... that to me is the greatest creative gift of all... it is lovely to meet you...

  18. Welcome back. I've missed you lately.
    You've always had a beautiful and unique way of seeing things and expressing them. I can imagine what you might be feeling and going through, since I'm been there similarly, but each one has a personal and individual way of dealing with it. Much heartfelt wishes for a peaceful heart.

  19. A gentle and melancholy reflection on artefact and memory. And a poem already if linked through the dotted lines.

  20. Lovely. You've really caught the universal in the particular and brought it home to all. There's both heart and mind in this. It's all that such a poem should be.

  21. JOANNE - Thank you so much for those kind words. It's mutual appreciation now.

    MARIE - I'm back, but not totally. I remember your dealings with your mother and especially your most excellent talk at her funeral.

    DICK - Thank you so much. I'm still working on making it a poem, but I think I need to leave it alone for awhile.

    DAVE - I'm very touched that you appreciate my attempts at poetry. You're the master.

  22. good to meet you.
    thanks for leaving a comments at my photo place.

    cool words of poetry

  23. Hi Kass, what a pleasant surprise to have you visit this morning. If I am a version of you 20 years ago, I wanted to see what I may grow into 20 years from now :) I too, love what I see!

    Beautiful words, already taking shape as a poem...

  24. NANCY - thanks for dropping by. I loved looking at your photos.

    VICKY - Thank you for responding to my visit. It's nice to see what we think are time-travelled versions of ourselves.

  25. This is so beautiful. Thanks for your comment on my blog!

  26. SUZY Q - Thanks for your visit. You remind me so much of the daughter of one of my friends. Both of you are talented and beautiful.

  27. I agree that this is already a poem.

    Poignant and evocative.

  28. Love this:

    The crystal stemware
    that sang with
    moistened fingers -

  29. Hmmm. You know, I really related to this, though I am sure it is from a different context than you intended. And this is why poetry is so powerful. I sought you out, after a comment about Reiki you made on another post. A friend says he has "performed" this on me several times and I have responded. I don't know what to say to that. Don't think I like the manipulation. Seeking to understand more.


It's nice to know you've stopped by. Thanks.