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April 13, 2023

Cabbage Roses

Through memories
that comfort or sting,
writing across continents and time,
years open,
conjuring old angels and demons.
follow the meandering path
that leads to harsh truth,
(or is it illusion?), and
coaxes raw beauty
out of the ugly bruise.
Dare to explore
in that house
in that time
in that room,
pink cabbage roses,
climb the walls,
an optimistic blush
inside the mind’s eye.
their sweet scent
coaxing fresh air into
the too dank past.

How The Poem, Cabbage Roses, Came To Be

Memories are elusive and unreliable. They can be crystal clear; but often they are murky, blending together into a confusing assemblage of questionable events. Memoir is an attempt to put the truth of any memory on paper so the memory can be shared with others. Yet to lay bare the memory in written form means some aspects of the writing have to be fiction. I believe this is true because none of us is capable of remembering everything but we are all capable of remembering snippets of everything.

What triggers memory? Sights, scents, smells, the experience of deja vu, and reading or listening to the memories of others arouse memories in me. I marvel at how the emotions conjured by memories are so universally human. I started thinking about all of this after listening to a writer read a small part of her larger memoir. While her actual memory was particular only to her, I recognized the emotional continuum passed by memories from person to person. I felt those emotions and recognized the truth in the tale. In the poem, Cabbage Roses, I try to expose those common threads of emotion and truth.