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Posts Tagged ‘Tracy K. Smith’

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THE EVERLASTING SELF

Comes in from a downpour
Shaking water in every direction —
A collaborative condition:
Gathered, shed, spread, then
Forgotten, reabsorbed. Like love
From a lifetime ago, and mud
A dog has tracked across the floor.

–Tracy K. Smith

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Wasn’t going to write anything this morning but I stumbled across this video and poem and felt like sharing it. It’s The Everlasting Self from Tracy K. Smith, the current United States Poet Laureate. In this video, filmed just a few weeks ago, Smith reads her poem with the backing of Sō Percussion at National Sawdust, a center for the arts in Brooklyn.

The poem is a simple one at a glance. But in this performance Smith takes the few words of the verse and realigns them time and time again, constantly reconstructing the poem. It uses the same elements but each feels slightly different. It creates a meditative loop, something close to what I described in a recent post, Mantra, that was coincidentally from the same date as Smith’s performance.

This performance struck me because it reminds me of how I often see my work. They are often comprised of fragments of memory– repeated, realigned and reconstructed. They are seldom derived from groundshaking moments in my past but rather from tiny bits of small observations from distinct memories.

The way the light looked at a certain moment. A color seen decades ago. A tree I passed on a solitary walk.

Small things that make up a life.

I sometimes stop on my walk to or from the studio and look carefully around. I think to myself that if I were to die moments from now, could this be the one memory of this life I carry with me? Would I go through whatever incarnation there may be in future lives with the memory of the cool wind rustling the maple trees and and the filtered sunlight on the tall green grass beneath the trees? The richness of the color in the rhododendron flowers? The rhythmic thunk of the pileated woodpecker’s beak against a tree deeper into the forest? The rich earthy fragrance of the mud on my trail?

Would these images and sound and smells be constantly rumbling around my mind in different iterations for eternity?

This would all be okay with me.

And that’s what I feel from this lovely meditation from Tracy K. Smith. Made me feel good this morning.

Take a look and give a listen. Maybe it will do the same for you.

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