“The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful.”
— Milan Kundera
Memory, we are told, is highly selective and not always accurate. We may remember a time or a place as being so full of wonder that it’s hard to imagine a reality that could live up to our recollection of it. Maybe we are looking back on a mentally enhanced version of what actually happened, as if it was retouched in some sort of cerebral Photoshop.
Or maybe not. Sometimes, as in the photo above, we have clues that our memories are not mistaken; in the words of Dave Barry, we are not making this up. Sometimes the poetry was present from the beginning, not composed over time by nostalgic delusions about a magical moment frozen in our consciousness.
I think Kundera is right about the poetic memory. It’s a sort of neurological scrapbook; the repository of all that has made life wonderful for us, and when the present moment becomes almost unbearable, we can wander into that corner of the mind, and see the colors and hear the lovely cadences that can’t be captured by grammatically correct sentences.
What scenes from your past sprang to mind when you saw the words “poetic memory?” What verses will be added today?