November 13, 2012

"Memorabilia", by Robert Browning

This poem was the occasion upon which Borges and Reyes met. I read it today again, and thought not of fond memories ("Ah, did you once see Shelley plain"?), but rather of annoying people who try hard to make your life miserable. One day, we will ask: "Ah, did you once see xxx plain", and instead of "laughter", the reaction will be: "Oh, that motherfucker..."

Ah, did you once see Shelley plain,

And did he stop and speak to you,
And did you speak to him again?
How strange it seems, and new!

But you were living before that,

And also you are living after;
And the memory I started at—
My starting moves your laughter!

I cross’d a moor, with a name of its own

And a certain use in the world, no doubt,
Yet a hand’s-breadh of it shines alone
’Mid the blank miles round about:

For there I picked up on the heather

And there I put inside my breast
A moulted feather, an eagle-feather!
Well, I forget the rest.

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