It’s been quite a long time since I first read a poem to a ‘live’ audience. A few years in fact. Last week I got around to standing up in front of a small group of people in a (fairly) public space again. The occasion was an ‘echo’ event at DCA where people were responding to an exhibition of the unusual slow animations of the artists IC-98. My poem tries to do it’s own explaining, so, I think I’ll just let it…
In response to an exhibition of work by IC-98. Dundee, January 2016. Continue reading
This poem was partly inspired by an article by Laura Spinney ‘The time illusion: how your brain creates now’. (New Scientist, 10th January 2015).
Just how long is ‘now’? It seems that, for most of us, our ‘experienced moment’ is probably of a few seconds duration.
Scientists believe that the experience we call ’now’ takes a little longer than the time required for our senses to be affected by changes in the world. And slightly longer again is needed to create a flowing sensation of continuity.
Of course our perception of this flow of time varies. Sometimes when we are most focussed – meditating, fearful or highly excited, time itself can seem to move more slowly, as our brains race to catch every single beat…
There’s a radio show where
Guests read their teenage diaries,
And laugh and cringe and ponder
What wise pearls or encouragement
They might offer their younger self.
Of course travelling to yesterday
Is always only an imagined journey,
There are no tickets to take you there.
But without a Wellsian flickershow,
We still pace time’s other arrow.
At fiftyish now, what might
I put in a time capsule, a stoppered note,
Or a cheery easter egg hidden away,
To travel forwards down the path,
And surprise a me at seventy-five?
At first I am quite stumped.
Don’t think I’ll want to wallow in sentiment,
Or slump in a nostalgia of best before.
A family man might know where his
Highest hopes would lie, but not I.
So what would I say, to me?
I am at a sudden loss.
What if I don’t remember much?
What if I no longer care?
What if the days have not gone well?
Then I consider – here if anywhere,
I must surely know what might
Raise a reluctant smile,
After all, there’s a lifetime in common –
Or at least, we have had so far.