Sunday, November 6, 2011

And whoever remembers childhood best...

This is how the poem "1924" by Yehuda Amichai ends:

And whoever remembers his childhood best
is the winner,
if there are any winners.

I've been looking at these photos I took for a couple of days, wondering what I should say about them. They're china horses (and a black lab) all the way from my childhood.  The palomino and the one next to it belonged to my grandmother who gave them to me before she died.  And the others where presents from my parents.  Nowadays they usually reside in a box in the basement under the stairs, carefully wrapped.

Rilke has a lot to say about childhood:

"Childhood - what actually was it? What was it, this childhood? Is there any other way of asking about it except with this helpless question - what was it?: that burning, that being amazed, that incessant not-being-able-to-help-oneself, that sweet, that profound, that beaming feeling-of-tears-welling-up?  What was it?"  

(from Letters on Life)


He also says:
"Most people do not know at all how beautiful the world is and how much magnificence is revealed in the tiniest things, in some flower, in a stone, in tree bark, or in a birch leaf.  Adults, being preoccupied with business and worries and tormenting themselves with all kinds of petty details, gradually lose the very sight for these riches that children, when they are attentive and good, soon notice and love with all their heart."

It's strange for me, looking at these photos, these figurines.  I'm transported to my childhood.  And it's a strange, but good sensation.  Maybe writers ponder/plunder their childhoods more than the average person. I stared at the these figurines for hours as a child, made up stories about them, gave them names and then changed them. With Rilke, though, I look at childhood, and ask, what exactly was it?  And maybe that's enough here, intimate enough, to ask the question.

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