Alumni Profile: Memories through Poetry

Amaranth Weiss participated in the World Religions Genesis course in 2011. She sent us the following note and poem shortly after the summer ended. Amaranth is currently a high school student in North Carolina.

Two months after coming home from Brandeis, I wrote this poem about my experience with having to separate from Genesis.  The poem does not specify its specific subject and is therefore fairly esoteric to Genesis; I have been wanting to share it with the group since writing it in early October.  The blog has finally provided the right way to do this.

Upon reflection, I notice that my poem has a melancholy flavor.  When writing it, I was merely attempting to creatively express the powerful impact Genesis had on me.  It is about “having left behind a reality I can’t recreate,” as Yael Lilienthal has put it.

I am thrilled to share my work with my Genesis peers once more.  A day has not gone by that I have not reflected on my summer experience.

Note: Shortly after I wrote this poem, James Conlon, one of my classmates from Genesis, shared a similar poem with an almost identical line on our Facebook  page.  Miles apart, we are somehow connected.

The Memory (This Place) by Amaranth Weiss

Most nights, I fall asleep
To This Place-
The place where I go in my mind
When nothing else is there
Or I feel alone.
Sometimes, it is what I strive to live;
Other times, This Place is just a wish.

In my short life
I have invented many a place
To dream of-
To ponder,
To wander, And sometimes strive to live,
But striving does nothing for This Place.

This Place is different.
It is as deep as the Pond.
It is as high as the Castle.
It is as true as my Truth.
It is as crisp as the photographs
That remind me
This Place was once real.

That is why
This Place is different.
It was not but a fantasy-
It was not but a dream-
It was but is no more.
This Place is shattered
Into two hundred pieces.

Pieces of This Place were swept
Into all of the corners of the Earth-
All of the corners, that is, except for mine.
Alone in a corner, I close my eyes.
The shattered Place
Is whole again.

It is now a crystal ball, and I peer into it;
I relive mornings in a small room,
And evenings under a huge sky.
I am here again, in This Place-
And it is still deep and high and crisp and
true-
All in a ball in the palm of my hand,
But when I open my eyes,
It is gone, and I have not the strength
To open the sphere
And bring back This Place,
And though I strive,
Striving does nothing.
Not for this place.

If my Place were a place of peace,
To strive would do little.
If my Place were a place of authority,
To strive would do some.
But This Place is a memory,
Safeguarded in a case,
And the case belongs to time:
Striving does nothing for This Place.

This Place is a memory.
My mind is the case where it lives,
Safeguarded by time.
Alone in a corner, I hold the crystal ball,
Made of two hundred pieces from all
the Earth’s corners,
And penetrate it
With a piece of my consciousness.
I’m alone in the room
Where we grew together
On summer days.
A pail of the blue paint that stains my
favorite shirt
Spills, swallows This Place
And takes me home.

The crystal ball dissolves
And colored sand slips though my fingers.
This Place is a memory-
It was but is no more.

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