Writing a poem about memory and then showing (here, in ‘real time’) a section of the poem dealing with one of the memories contained in it that’s a full seasonal cycle (spring then, autumn now) later than when it was written, and seven years later than the remembered occasion (in summer) with the Australian poet Barry Hill and his wife the singer Rose Bygrave at Colabassa in 2005 – what’s ‘going on’ here?
And then, inside these foldings of time, is the memory contained in the song Rosie sang that afternoon after a long, cheerful, nattering lunch, to thank the women in the kitchen who’d loaded our table with food and wine; and the memory contained in the song the women sang back, which had (has) remained current over several centuries.
David Shields describes memory as ‘the past rewritten in the direction of feeling’.
The first day of spring arrives
with the sound of the Link bus
(it’s green) whooshing past the end
of our street, past the early
risers at Cartune Auto
who begin to sing in the
rain as their roller door clangs
open – soon, I pass them as
I cross the parking lot at
the back of the post office
where I tap in secret
code on the keypad, unlock
our box, and lo! A gift for
the first day of spring, two books
sent from the beautiful house
above Swan Bay in Queenscliff,
where Baz and Rosie live in
rooms full of songs. What about
that time we finished lunch at
Collabassa, when Rosie
went back to the kitchen and
brought the women out, and sang
for them, Deep in my heart and
deep in my soul, and then they
sang back with glasses raised, a
song about the utter use-
lessness of men, how they crowed
at dawn but were crestfallen
by the time their lunch was served.