what remains as testimony

IMG_6885what remains as testimony are the
iceberg’s tip, the crisp of an autumn leaf
an ebbing tide, a few fading records, packed
waiting for the day, opened in repository
and sniffed at by the curious, seen as quaint
by those who weren’t there, who didn’t know
with what courage and sinuous grace we moved
through our trials, our victories, our passions
until we lost ourselves walking along the
roof’s edge, our eyes on another realm
we didn’t look back, only put out our hands
to shake yours as you passed us on your way

© 2015, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


9 Comments on “what remains as testimony

  1. I agree with Victoria, that we all read this with a unique perspective of what it means. To me, the “few fading records” were vinyl records (like 33s or 45s) and those always remind me of the 60’s – my parents’ era. I often wonder what mementos by which people will remember me. Hopefully, it is more a legacy of deeds than things, but sometimes those ‘things’ can be powerful, powerful triggers. I enjoyed this poem, Jamie. 🙂 Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Corina, regarding your comment: Mary Oliver’s poem “When Death Comes”

      When death comes
      like the hungry bear in autumn;
      when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

      to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
      when death comes
      like the measle-pox

      when death comes
      like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

      I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
      what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

      And therefore I look upon everything
      as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
      and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
      and I consider eternity as another possibility,

      and I think of each life as a flower, as common
      as a field daisy, and as singular,

      and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
      tending, as all music does, toward silence,

      and each body a lion of courage, and something
      precious to the earth.

      When it’s over, I want to say all my life
      I was a bride married to amazement.
      I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

      When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
      if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

      I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
      or full of argument.

      I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

      – Mary Oliver

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Jamie. That poem says it much more eloquently than I could. What a wonderful expression of how to strive to make a difference with our lives. I savored this poem several times with admiration of how well it is wrought and how well it delivers its message. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This strikes a bittersweet chord, Jamie–all the more so because I helped my cousins clean up my Aunt Loena’s house after her passing in May–so many treasures, so many stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The last line recalled my barn dancing days, the “allemande left with a grand right and left”, sliding by smiling faces of strangers… a bit more poignant in this context.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I heard some people talking about the letters and things they found in their grandmother’s house after she died, things that belonged to their great-grandmother. So much was “quaint” or “homely” and all discussed in somewhat diminishing tones. No recognition that the G’G’ma had been through two world wars and a depression – no familiarity with the items/attitudes/language and the whys/hows/wherefores. I wondered how G’G’ma would feel if she heard that conversation. But you are right, Victoria, we could each bring our own experience and the ways in which our own generation is misunderstood to this poem.


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