Sunday, July 10, 2011

On Rediscovering An Old Calendar - Chris Hart

Old, forgotten calendars reveal
New insights about my former self.
Margin notes, furiously scrawled,
Remind me to remember things
Which I strangely did not write down.
That's one thing that hasn't changed,
My brilliant organization skills.

Flipping back in time
Through my old calendars
Is seeing all of my insecurities
Hopes and fears
Laid bare to the neat lines
Of a helpful schedule planner.

If only I could know
What my current calendar
Reflects about me.
All I know now
Is that I have work tomorrow:
It says so on the calendar.

This poem was half composed as a note on my phone, which I scrawled down after flipping through a few old planners I found in my room.  It's strange to look back on the things I thought were important enough to remind myself of.  I saw a lot of nervous energy in those entries, and a lot of un-vented aggression.  It's an interesting retrospective, so I tried to say something about that without disclosing the exact contents of past entries.

The notes on the calendars do not matter so much, for the sake of the poem, as the fact that there are notes on the calendar.  That I felt the need to remind myself of something gives me some insight into my state of mind.  I remember a friend telling me once that looking through her old diaries, if there were spans were she didn't write anything down, she knows that it was a time when she was deluding herself into thinking she didn't have anything to worry about.  The absence of entries showed her that things in that time period weren't peachy keen.  For me, it's somewhat opposite.  If I'm taking the time to write something down, it usually means that I have some sort of strong feeling that I am unsure of how to categorize.  And so, I neatly put it into a schedule.  Problem solved?  Not at all, but looking back, it seems I may have thought that way.

I regret that, in finishing this poem, that I didn't choose to adopt a rhyme scheme.  I find the result somewhat bland, without any interesting aural functions.  I tried to get by on an aloof tone, though I hardly think that cuts it for poetry.  I tried to keep the internal sounds of the line contrasting and fun to speak, though I don't know if I succeeded fully.  Maybe the central idea isn't strong enough to fit a strong formal structure.  Either way, it's an experiment, and success or failure, it can be nothing unless it's shared.

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