Resources on poetry by the poets themselves

A Long ago by Eleanor Farjeon

I’ll tell you, shall I, something I remember? Something that still means a great deal to me. It was long ago. A dusty road in summer I remember, A mountain, and an old house, and a tree That stood, you know, Behind the house. An old woman I remember In a red shawl with a grey cat on her knee Humming under a tree. She seemed the oldest thing I can remember. But then perhaps I was not more than three. It was long ago. I dragged on the dusty road, and I remember How the old woman looked over the fence at me And seemed to know How it felt to be three, and called out, I remember “Do you like bilberries and cream for tea?” I went under the tree. And while she hummed, and the cat purred, I remember How she filled a saucer with berries and cream for me So long ago. Such berries and such cream as I remember I never had seen before, and never see Today, you know. And that is almost all I can remember, The house, the mountain, the gray cat on her knee, Her red shawl, and the tree, And the taste of the berries, the feel of the sun I remember, And the smell of everything that used to be So long ago, Till the heat on the road outside again I remember And how the long dusty road seemed to have for me No end, you know. That is the farthest thing I can remember. It won’t mean much to you. It does to me. Then I grew up, you see. Looking at this poem just before I felt my arms 'swimming' through the air as I illustrated how I felt the poem explored the ways in which we find our past. And which way are we swimming when we remember? Are we necessarily swimming backwards? And where when we get down to it, is forward afterall|? Here the very rhythm of the poem and the gentle repetitions communicate a voice and poet recollecting a special, yet perhaps ordinary 'something' which for some reason has endured and will endure. The colours are simple and direct. The red shawl. The grey cat. There is a 'humming' too. Again this resonates. Yet the poet cannot recall what was hummed. We are craning our necks towards the past and find what the poet finds there. Nothing more, nothing less. This high degree of selectivity intensifies the emotional power of the experience. It is because it is. Like Eliot's fragments shored against his ruins from the end of The Wasteland. 'You know' we are there too. We know how important it is to share. How do we know, in the end, what is or was truly monumental afterall? You know. I was there. And so were you. ......