The Remains Poem by Mark Strand

The Remains

Rating: 4.5

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.

Adeline Foster 26 January 2014

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

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Bharati Nayak 28 May 2016

'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, 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.

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Jasbir Chatterjee 28 May 2016

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!

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Edward Kofi Louis 28 May 2016

Empty! ! How can i sing? Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

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Tom Billsborough 28 May 2016

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

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Savita Tyagi 23 January 2018

Beautiful. I should come back to read more of these wonderful poems.

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Ratnakar Mandlik 28 May 2016

Beautifully crafted superb poem. Thanks for sharing it here.

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Smoky Hoss 28 May 2016

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.

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Susan Williams 28 May 2016

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. '

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Kim Barney 28 May 2016

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.

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Mark Strand

Mark Strand

Prince Edward Island, Canada
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