Living in the moment

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:  Buddhamentia is a poem I wrote a few years ago to express the tension between choosing to “live in the moment”, a goal many hectic type A’s aspire to  and having to choice but living in the moment as a result of dementia.  Romance is often easier to watch on a movie screen than to live though….  Here are some REALLY fine poems on the topic:


by Billy Collins
The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.


Lines Lost Among Trees


These are not the lines that came to me

while walking in the woods

with no pen

and nothing to write on anyway.


They are gone forever,

a handful of coins

dropped through the grate of memory,

along with the ingenious mnemonic


I devised to hold them in place –

all gone and forgotten

before I had returned to the clearing of lawn

in the back of our quiet house


with its jars jammed with pens,

its notebooks and reams of blank paper,

its desk and soft lamp,

its table and the light from its windows.


So this is my elegy for them,

those six or eight exhalations,

the braided rope of the syntax,

the jazz of the timing,


and the little insight at the end

wagging like the short tail

of a perfectly obedient spaniel

sitting by the door.


This is my envoy to nothing

where I say Go, little poem –

not out into the world of strangers’ eyes,

but off to some airy limbo,


home to lost epics,

unremembered names,

and fugitive dreams

such as the one I had last night,


which like a fantastic city in pencil,

erased itself

in the bright morning air

just as I was waking up.


–Billy Collins

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