Thursday, June 23, 2016

A sonnet with numbers

     Sonnet: Now I see them    by Michael Palmer

          Now I see them sitting me before a mirror.
          There’s noise and laughter. Somebody
          mentions that hearing is silver
          before we move on to Table One
          with the random numbers. I look down
          a long street containing numbers.
          A white four leans against the fence
          and disappears. In the doorway
          is the seven, then the x
          painted red so you can find it
          more easily. Five goes by
          without its cap. My father wears
          the second x. He has a grey cloud
          for a face, and dark lines for arms.

     I first found this poem (from Palmer's collection Series from The Lion Bridge) here at the vast and wonderful poetry website  When I contacted him to ask permission to post, he included this background information:
          It derives in part from reading the great Soviet-era psychologist A.R.Luria’s The Mind of a Mnemonist, about the life struggles of a man who could not forget things and became a professional mnemonist. Luria was a crucial influence on Oliver Sacks in Sacks’ early years as a neurologist and writer.
     An earlier posting in this blog offers another fine Palmer poem ("Prose 31:  The Logic of Contradictions").

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