Friday, 31 August 2012

The Trouble With Proustian Recollection by A.F. Harrold

Oh, Marcel, you got it right, that memory business.
It was Tuesday and I was in the tea shop in town,
a clear cup of the Earl curling steam into the air,
a seed cake, caraway, staring up at me from a plate.

I’d made cakes like that myself, when younger,
watched the striped seeds swim round the bowl,
switch and swirl in the flour, in the old grey kitchen,
but somewhere on the way to today, I’d forgotten.

I balanced a crumbled corner of cake in the spoon,
dipped it and watched the elixir creep crumb by crumb
up the crumbs before I lifted it, smelt the petal scent
and bit down on one liquorish burst of caraway, and…

I was flung back, all the way to that Combray summer
when aunt Léonie shared her thin tisane with me –
lime-blossom in the old grey house, the sunlight… but,
oh, Marcel! It’s happened again: I’m remembering you.

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