Memory–Write2Day


English: English poet William Wordsworth

Image via Wikipedia

In the last few weeks of my sister’s very brief (losing) battle with pancreatic cancer, we spent quality time together, enjoying the most intimate conversations we’d had, as children or adults. Our minds trolled memories shared from our childhood until the effects of pain management meds blurred Cris’ touch with reality. One of the things that hit both of us was how differently we recalled the same event.

We were both seven when our previously widowed parents married. My first night away from the home in which I spent my earliest years was the night of their wedding and, as it happened, the night of a significant earthquake in the Central Valley of California. (You can imagine the razing Mom and Dad had when they returned from their honeymoon). While we both recalled details of awakening to violent shaking and the lamp between our twin beds lurching to the floor, we differed as to whether it was in our parents’ or our aunt’s home. Personal perceptions shape our remembering.

I recently listened to a tape from “The Teaching Company” on memory as an inspiration for poets. The professor used a poem by Wordsworth–one, I assume you will recognize.

Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Field of Daffodils with an old barn in the bac...

Image via Wikipedia

Wordsworth wrote his memories of a walk taken two years previously with his sister, Dorothy. She also wrote her recollection of the event using prose. The details were similar, but the interpretation was quite different. By way of example, Wordsworth experienced the walk as a solitary event (I wandered lonely…) while his sister’s account includes the two of them.

The poem calls upon a variety of implements from the poet’s toolbox the add to the effectiveness of the poem. Wordsworth uses trope (the simile, for example, as a cloud).  He personifies the flowers, interacting with them. Repetition plays a role–note the variations of dancing in each stanza, as does alliteration.

For today’s prompt, dig into the archives of your memories and write a poem or descriptive prose of a memory. Go ahead, if you like, and use your imagination to embellish the facts and, whether writing poetry or prose, help yourself to one or more of the poetic devices mentioned above, that helped Wordsworth pen a poem for the ages.

To participate, post the poem on your blog, access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this page and add your name and the direct URL to your blog. Please return and visit others who have participated, commenting on their work. I hope you will enjoy this prompt and read a bit more of Wordsworth. His poetry is available in the public domain.

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28 thoughts on “Memory–Write2Day

  1. […] from Victoria: Memory–Write2Day          https://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/memory-write2day/#comment-9855/ Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

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  2. I’m a little behind on this one, Victoria. I think this fits the challenge.
    It is, certainly, a memory from someone I once knew.
    Be well
    Blessings,
    Izzy xoxo
    http://insidethemindofisadora.wordpress.com/2012/01/29-the-message/

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  3. klrs09 says:

    My sister and I, too, have very different memories regarding our childhood. She claims to remember everything in vivid detail, while I recall next to nothing. I’m so sorry that your sister is no longer there for you to bounce memories off. I read “As You Lay Dying” what a moving tribute to her.

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  4. wolfsrosebud says:

    You do such a nice job of educating… standing applause.

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  5. […] https://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/memory-write2day/ Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

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  6. tigerbrite says:

    It seems all our posts are about death. I suppose that’s what creates the strongest memories. Glad you were able to share memories with your sister.

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  7. siggiofmaine says:

    Victoria,
    I realize that somehow I had forgotten of this post…
    it seems silly to me that it would have hit a button in me…my sister died 64 years ago, her name was Vicky. I was only three and have no conscious memories of her. She never came home from the hospital.
    I do want to offer my condolences… my sister was never mentioned til the day my father died, twenty years ago, so I cannot relate to your loss. But I can imagine that for you, it is an emptiness in your soul, that will linger to the end of time.
    Now,
    as for the prompt…it is such a wonderful one. I have experienced the difference of memories in sharing with my children and my first husband particularly. My daughter in particular….amazing how each person’s perception is so different.

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers,
    Peace,
    Siggi in Downeast Maine

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  8. My heart wrenched for you when you wrote of your sister and those last precious moments together. I can’t imagine my sister not being around to share things with. In fact, I think I’ll call her right now and tell her how much a treasure her. Thank you so much for reminding me.

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  9. […] Also posted on:  Memory–Write2Day […]

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  10. zongrik says:

    wrote a poem about a memory of someone wonderful

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  11. Here is the link to my poem, Ransom. I also used Mr. Linky!

    http://lornasvoice.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/ransom/

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  12. […] The following poem is in response to Victoria’s Wednesday Writing Prompt, “Memory” from her magnificent blog, Live to Write Today. […]

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  13. All I do is write about memories–well, almost all I do. I have a poem I’ll share about one of my cousins who died of complications due to a heart transplant. The poem was written after I visited him in the hospital the last time. WARNING: this is not funny. 😦

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  14. claudia says:

    so sorry to hear about your sis victoria… the daffodil poem is very moving…never heard about wordsworth before though..ugh.. there’s a lot i need to learn and always enjoy learning from you victoria.. thanks also for the great meeting the bar post at dVerse and looking forward to reading your imagist poem

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  15. […] https://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/memory-write2day/ asks us to write a poem of a memory, giving us the example of Wordsworth’s Daffodils.  I am no Wordsworth. […]

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  16. ManicDdaily says:

    Victoria–I haven’t had time yet to upload your novel, but will do soon. I’ve been pretty busy and behind as you can imagine. A lovely post–so nice to see Wordsworth (and think of daffodils.) K.

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  17. Writing Jobs says:

    This was an excellent post. I enjoy reading your blog very much.

    Love Writing? Join Us Today – Writers Wanted

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  18. markwindham says:

    I guess I will cheat a little to start things off. This is not so much a memory as my observation of another’s memories. I have not posted it to my site yet, as he might possibly stop by some day and I am not sure he is ready to read it. So, i will take up a little room here. I hope you do not mind the length Victoria. There is always the delete button and I will not be offended.

    Another Sunrise

    A solitary beach walker
    Where once two had been.
    Another sunrise among many,
    Begrudgingly sharing the shore
    With endless, timeless waves,
    And soaring, screeching seabirds.
    Uncertain what to do
    With his empty right hand,
    Where once two had been.
    Looking for that reason to be thankful
    In breezes chilled by late November;
    Leaving flowers on the sand –
    Marking where ashes were spread.
    A solitary beach walker,
    Where once two had been.

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    • Mark, this is such a poignant, vivid memory. I’m so glad you shared it here and have no problem with it being in comments. This would fit the prompt I just wrote for tomorrow’s dVerse post, although I understand you won’t want to join it there. Clear, precise imagery. I look forward to your work.

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      • viv blake says:

        Mark, your poem is beautiful in its evocation of grief. All the elements of a good poem are there.

        Victoria, Isn’t it a shame that WW’s Daffodils have become such a cliché? It is probably one of the first poems that we all read at school, with teacherly analysis. I re-read it here as though for the first time and thought it a perfect poem, perhaps THE perfect poem.

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    • df barker says:

      Mark, this is wonderful.

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    • siggiofmaine says:

      Mark..
      what a fitting tribute…
      thank you for sharing…
      I’ve heard so many people.
      the ones left behind,
      speak of the same thing,
      and you have written of it
      eloquently.

      Peace,
      Siggi in Downeast Maine

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