In the Light of the Injunction to "Be Here Now", Here's a Poem Called "The Past"

Today I'm going to present one of my poems, called "The Past", with a minimum of comment. It's a personal favorite. It should be easily  accessible to most readers.


"The Past" arose one day when I discovered a pasture in my mind where the statement of Meher Baba, whom I take as God (this is why)--"The past is a frozen lake"--did not seem "the final word" on the subject.


I put pen to paper and the discovery flowed onto the page, of how in my sixties I feel I've walked so many trails in this lifetime that there are in memory, it often seems, a nearly infinite supply of stories. And so many have so much beauty! (Of course, others are painful.)


Baba has a point, too, naturally! "The point of power is in the Present", as many a motivational speaker has remarked. In fact, even thinking of a lovely experience in the past, happens in the Present.


Here's the poem:

The Past

The past is an interest-bearing investment,
an estate enclosing more territory each day,
a delta always creating land.

Now, in my 60s,
I’m a great landowner,
a don unable to survey
all my holdings at once,
even from the highest hill.

To do so, I have to take
to the winding back roads.
Whole years I’d forgotten
come into view.
Everything is growing,
rooted in soil.

I didn’t know the past bloomed
with such passionate, poignant flowers
or yielded such succulent fruit.
Blossoms have faces and speak.
Resurrected old homes straddle valleys.
Memories graze on hillsides.

I return from such excursions knowing
there are still more such loops. How
did the tiny sharecropper’s yard
I knew as a young man
ever accrue to this? What Hand
has watered the once-arid precincts
and made them fertile?

I wonder, hearing people say,
“the past is dead”, when I find it so alive,
nearly as unknown, at times,
as what has not yet been dreamed,
and though I do not live in the past,
it is the foundation upon which I stand



Write a comment

Comments: 4
  • #1

    David G. Allen (Saturday, 19 April 2014 21:09)

    Great poem!

  • #2

    Jack Ridl (Saturday, 27 December 2014 11:06)

    I am very grateful that you and your art are with me,with the world

  • #3

    Jazz Jaeschke (Saturday, 04 July 2015 09:41)

    Perfect find on the day following a drive through a geography I frequented as a child, my thoughts flooded with images and emotions from those times - yes, clearly the foundation for my mature perspectives. I am in my late 60s - resonating with your perspectives. Thank you!

  • #4

    Jazz Jaeschke (Saturday, 17 December 2016 07:20)

    Amazing. Have lost most of the last 2 days prowling through 2005 photographs of a camping trip (Big Bend) - a stash I apparently never bothered to sort, tag, etc. They took me back to the beginnings of the relationship beginning then (now interwoven into everything I do) - kept thinking last night I need a poem to commemorate the pleasure and value of prowling those old photos, many showing trails and dirt roads. This morning I open my email to find your poem (AGAIN!) - what synchronicity! Whatever stirred you to post this now, THANK YOU.