Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Memory Lives In The Human Hand

Memory lives in the human hand,
in its palm in its knuckles and in its grasp.
All we can remember is what we have
already once held.  The factory worker
may escape down a highway in a car
he had a hand in creating but I saw 
Chuwat when he was a hundred create
a basket.  He could barely see and couldn’t
teach you how to do it, but with some
bamboo and a machete he made one as
he had done thousands of times before.
Memory lives in the human hand.

FG           9/1/2016

This is an appropriate poem for Labor Day (where did the summer go?  Actually it never leaves Thailand).

Chuwat was Chunky’s grandfather who died on the floor in front of my refrigerator at 103.

Athletes talk about muscle memory or envisioning what you want to do beforehand – which is an interesting word by itself.  Scientist can explain memory in terms of the brain, but I think the hand (and body) plays a part in memory, too.

I was thinking about Theodoe Roethke’s Michigan : Highway poem (“escaping in what their hands had made”) when writing this.