My children talk about what the beginning
of the world looked like. It was pink, says
my son, with total certainty, almost as if
he remembers the beginning of his world,
which was not the beginning of mine,
but close: If we’re talking billions of years,
then what are my 35 before he was born?
Is it possible that at age four, he can
still hold the memory? I’ve heard that
we all retain everything we’ve ever
experienced, that we only forget
because so many things are layered
over, and perhaps because to remember
so much would be unbearable, even
immobilizing. At seven, my daughter
is shedding memory so rapidly that
preschool, which once seemed
indelible—which only ended
three years ago—is now mostly
gone. This is necessary, I know:
new experiences overlapping,
overtaking, replacing the old.
But if my son could remember
far enough, beyond pink beginnings,
further back even than his dividing cells,
those of all his human relatives, past
primates, further back than mammals,
past an egg tooth and a leathery shell,
beyond a pond somewhere—the
simplest beginning of the simplest
creature—beyond all that, back
and back to atoms, and past that,
all the way to nothing, would he have
an answer? Would he see the divine,
the void, the ways in which the two
are one and the same? But this is all
too cosmic. I wanted to say a true thing,
and somehow I ended up at imaginary
space dust. As if flesh is not enough.
Flesh. Sunlight. Water. Love.
For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. Please check out the many other fine poets who link there every Tuesday p.m.!
17 thoughts on “In the Beginning, There Was”
Thank you so much, Complynn!
Thank you, Jennifer! It’s been hard to do this topic justice without professing faith that I don’t necessarily feel. I had to push myself for this one.
That was just beautiful, Marilyn!
Thanks so much for coming over here to say so, Laurie!
I like that a lot. Well done.
Thanks very much, Karin!
layers of experience, layers in your words
Thanks so much, hisfirefly! All month, I’ve been writing about religious faith, which is a very “layered” subject for me — as it is for many people, I know.
lovely bit of writing
You wrote about this beautifully and took it a step or two further than I did. If you are by any chance interested you may read what I wrote awhile back on much the same topic. I am not promoting my 20 or so month old blog, only read your post at dversepoets’ Open Link Night and immediately thought of it.
I love your last question and conclusion, almost word for word what I feel but did not say in my piece. And I don’t think we are too existential.
“As if flesh is not enough.”
Perfect. Just perfect. And I love the voice, the way it carries through all the way. Well done. Well done.
The difficulty with early memory, is that we don’t have the language and vocabulary to structure what we are experiencing. Thus those memories become more elusive with time, and as we develop, we grow to rely on those more structured memories. And only if we could go back into collective ancestral memories..
wow indeed. love how you brought it home, the whole universe, cosmology, evolution… in those last lines. beautiful.
Food for thought on those beginnings, simple, divine, the void ~ I believe we have those early memories but the newer and recent experiences are closer to the surface, so we forget those memories ~
Reading your poetic flight was a nice dip into a (geographically) distant friend’s consciousness. Beautiful, Marilyn. Take care.