Your Attic space with dust a mimic curtain
Felted and draped to muffle crisp divisions
An insulation palpably uncertain
Its gritty shift recording all revisions

Press through it to discover hidden angles
Neglected tins and boxes roughly nested
The dust disintegrates to shreds and tangles
The padding's gone and edges must be tested

Best put on gloves to handle what's on offer
Nostalgia's gilding rubs off more and more as
You splinter up the lids of chest and coffer
Forgetting every box might be Pandora's

Memory's not confined by time or measure
Trawling the past's at best a risky pleasure
Remember, what you disclose may not be treasure

Mnemosyne's a bitch when out of humour
Twitching away your cherished reconstructions
Etching through your design with acid rumour
Settling your doubts with casual deconstructions

Her very name conspires to disconcert you
As ns and ms enmesh to make you queasy
When even lesser gods are keen to hurt you
Feminised abstracts never make life easy

Her lamp reveals the past illuminated
Benevolently aiding self-awareness
Her accuracy, though, is overrated
And gods have never been renowned for fairness

All heartfelt supplication she refuses
And only takes delight in what confuses
She's certainly the Mother of all Muses

Though Memory's a goddess with a lustre
Her promises are no more than potentials
You'll find her Orphic glamour tinged with bluster
Despite the best Olympian credentials

The past is not a state you can aspire to
You're exiled thence despite your best attestment
Yesterday's not a country to retire to
A pity, when it's such a large investment

Rather too many Attic shrines divert us
As seamless pasts require a deal of patching
Meanwhile the rosebuds gather to alert us
That possibly today's the one worth catching

Attracted as I am to expiation
The past's an overwhelming obligation
But here and now might be a celebration.

Text © Gail-Nina Anderson, 2004.
Gail-Nina Anderson asserts her moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

This page was originally part of the Durham Literature Festival web site; since its removal from that site, it has been transferred to the site of Cornwell Internet.