Mark Strand

Rookie (Prince Edward Island, Canada)

The Remains - Poem by Mark Strand

I empty myself of the names of others. I empty my pockets.
I empty my shoes and leave them beside the road.
At night I turn back the clocks;
I open the family album and look at myself as a boy.

What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name. I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.

My parents rise out of their thrones
into the milky rooms of clouds. How can I sing?
Time tells me what I am. I change and I am the same.
I empty myself of my life and my life remains.


Comments about The Remains by Mark Strand

  • Ratnakar Mandlik (5/28/2016 11:38:00 PM)

    Beautifully crafted superb poem. Thanks for sharing it here. (Report) Reply

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  • Smoky Hoss (5/28/2016 5:29:00 PM)

    It seems to me, in my simple way of understanding, that through the verities of aging one comes to the acceptance of losing the selfish self, and gains an understanding of the true self. The unfortunate reality though is it cost a lifetime to discover; and yet the paradox is that though the body will cease to be, the person will always remain, as in Mr. Strands family album and the memory of his parents of whom he is always a part, and they forever a part of him. Though all we have goes away in the end, perhaps even our name, what we truly are ever remains, albeit in a mysterious, ineffable manifestation. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams Susan Williams (5/28/2016 3:57:00 PM)

    Fascinating indeed! We readers each bring our life experiences and our mind sets to the table with us and use them when confronted with a poem that is challenging us. We are certain affected by this poem but what is it telling us? I think I am being reminded of my Father as he sank daily under the loss of names and faces that comes with Alzheimer's. You think it is the willful separation of a man from involvement in life that may come from a mental illness. We can both be right, we can both be wrong. But this poem's strength is in its unsettling nature. ' (Report) Reply

  • Kim Barney (5/28/2016 12:09:00 PM)

    A fascinating poem, unrhymed as is typical of M. Strand.
    Interesting that both he and L.M. Montgomery (whose poem was also chosen as poem of the day today) were born on Prince Edward Island. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis Edward Kofi Louis (5/28/2016 11:52:00 AM)

    Empty! ! How can i sing? Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Jasbir Chatterjee Jasbir Chatterjee (5/28/2016 5:01:00 AM)

    Very nice lines, I empty myself of my life and my life remains. The essence, the soul always remains intact; other things keep changing. Congrats on being poet of the day, Mark! (Report) Reply

  • Bharati Nayak Bharati Nayak (5/28/2016 4:31:00 AM)

    'I change'and I am the same'- - -Time brings changes in body, mind.relationship, friendship, , society, environment and so many other things.We are changing always.We are in constant interaction with our environment i.e.family, friends and society.Our role changing.If we detach ourselves from these relationships, as individuals we are same person.By disconnecting from the outer what remains is our own self- Life remains there.
    As the poet says- I empty myself of my life and my life remains. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Billsborough (5/28/2016 2:06:00 AM)

    We change all the time. So I can't see the point of this, except wiping the memory, which in itself alters.
    Tom Billsborough (Report) Reply

  • Adeline Foster Adeline Foster (1/26/2014 3:39:00 PM)

    I thought it appropriate that the Google ad mentioned Brain Games. ‘Fraid this one is a little beyond me. Try mine –Shell-Shock –
    Adeline (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 11, 2013

Poem Edited: Tuesday, October 8, 2013


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