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Le Ricordanze, 9 Oct 1990

Prague Orloj, Old Town Hall, Czech Republic, 2012

Translated this means "the memories" and is from Giacomo Leopardi's poem of this name written in 1831. Andre Aciman condenses Leopardi's meaning into "remembrance as a creative act, the past eternally preserved, eternally held firm, eternally relived" (from Homo Irrealis, "Underground" p22) and discusses this concept as it applies to this poem by Patrick Phillips which appeared throughout the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority system as part of their Poetry in Motion series.


It will be the past

and we'll live there together.

Not as it was to live

but as it is remembered.

It will be the past.

We'll all go back together.

Everyone we ever loved,

and lost, and must remember.

It will be the past.

And it will last forever.

Time passes and we stop for just a moment to read this poem in the subway car, or anywhere else we might quite unexpectedly find words that give us pause to reflect, to remember. We think of a person, a time, a place, a feeling . . . and if we're truly fortunate all work together to take us out of our head, out of our crowded space, or out of the limits of our present body for just that moment. This is what I think the word means.

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