Saturday, February 13, 2010

“Mémoire” by Pierre Reverdy

Memoire is in the French feminine, memory, and in the masculine, memoir and in Reverdy’s poem, the shared experience of two strangers lost in their distinct thoughts and memories. Though this is an isolated state, all humans by virtue of sharing this experience are united in the act. Joined in “un monde plein d’espoir,” a world full of prospect—the potential and constant moment of becoming.
First the speaker is lost in thought with no recognition of what has happened around his body in the tangible world. “Scarcely a minute/And I’ve come back/ Having grasped nothing of all that passed.” We say that we have zoned or spaced out into the “larger sky.” In the last moments of being removed from the physical world, in the mental zone, there always is “The lantern going by/ The footstep overheard” that pulls us out of our mind and back into the material space that we inhabit. The entire world, in the setting of the poem, the zoo, is “in motion” but “someone comes to a stop/ They let go of the world/ And everything in it.” By letting go of the material constraints of our body in the physical world “There’s more space.”
In the open field of thought, imagination and memory we are rewriting our self-narrated autobiography. And as a community of humans, space is one of our largest concerns both personally and politically. Ownership of intellectual property and real estate and personal space and one’s own story is at play in the constant rewriting of history. In the realm of unlimited immaterial space, division of thinking does not prevent the shared human behavior from achieving communion. Each is not alone in the condition of being human that tends toward daydreaming or day-worrying. “All three of us were strangers/ And formed already” finding the potential self and community.

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