Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Saturday 8 March 2014

Then and Now


B and W IV: photo by Mikael Jeney, 18 January 2014

Then it was always
for now, later
for later.
And then years of now
passed, and it grew later
and later. Trapped
in the shrinking
chocolate box
the confused sardine
was unhappy. It
leapt, and banged its head
again. And afterward
they said shall we
repeat the experiment.
And it said
later for that.

Kerstfest, Beursplein, Amsterdam: photo by Robert Schneider, 26 December 2013


Hazen said...

This is excellent. It’s not only the sardines that are confused. Things in Indiana seem quite muddled too: a State Highway Patrol car also bears the emblem of the Indianpolis Metropolitan Police Department. But then the cops can do whatever they please.

That questioning stare in that kid’s eyes is the wise response. Do I gotta grow up for this?

ACravan said...

I would like to hear this set to music. The staring baby is really a star. Curtis

Poet Red Shuttleworth said...

Wonderful!!! There was so much time then. Then we found less of it. The brevity of now....

Mose23 said...

You've given the fairytale opening the perfect twist.

They can't keep themselves from the experiment - the now shrinking again and again.

Nin Andrews said...

Terrific! And it said/later for that.
Are we not all sardines in the end?

I was reading about an experiment they did on caterpillars to see if the butterflies remembered their caterpillar life--where they shock the c again and again every time they expose it to a certain scent.
Then the butterflies freak when they are exposed to the scent.
I thought about those bio experiments I did in college and sometimes wondered
is this an experiment on me and my ethics or lack thereof
or is it an experiment on the fish or the mice?
I thought of all that when I thought of the "repeat experiment."
And Descartes' argument, wasn't it D? About the evil genie that might be experimenting on us?
And how I've always felt that somehow that was the case.
But then I was a medical guinea pig as a girl, so maybe that's why I have these illusions.

Terry Simons said...

Great work on Thur., Friday and Sat. Like having three aces in a row.

ACravan said...

Throughout a long yesterday (back-and-forth to Washington again and more after that), this marinated like the sardine. That experience and Nin's observation opened up wider the sinister aspects of this elegant poem/picture piece. Curtis

Nin Andrews said...

I keep checking to see if you are here. I hope all is okay with you and yours.

TC said...

Hazen, that was my thought precisely, about the quizzical, possibly apprehensive look on that child's face. Sorry kid, no turning back now.

Of course cops do whatever they please, even if it's mixing up the uniforms and logos, planting a babe in the front seat, and driving around Stockholm.

A theatrical-prop 1950s Stockholm.

"They can't keep themselves from the experiment - the now shrinking again and again."

The irresistible advance of technological "progress" has latterly reduced all human life to the status of one of those cruel animal testing experiments they do in Japan, where cruelty is evidently culturally embedded.

Nin, something tells me your illusions and the objective facts of the case (i.e. the case of the world as constituted) may be closer cousins than previously suspected.

Anonymous said...

What is the deeper meaning of this poem? Do the pictures represent something of that time or an event that happened resulting in this poem? I want to know the unfluence of the poem, and what it means. This poem intriges me so much I want to know more!

TC said...


Those are all wonderfully pertinent questions and I do wish I had the answers for you.

Perhaps you might tell me your guesses, and then I'll tell you mine.

For example, I've guessed that the principal source and influence may well have been the person seen sitting in the passenger seat of the automobile in the top picture; and that, indeed she may be holding the deeper meaning in her lap, if she has not in fact already secreted it in the glove box.

It's probably a mercy we can't make out her face. Any little bit of mystery always helps, as the child in the lower picture might say, were it not that life itself is strange and scary beyond words.