Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)
TITLE: Both Blessing and Curse
By Betsy Markman
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(An Acrostic Poem)
<B>P</b>andora's box of history, with no lid to close it,
<B>E</b>very snapshot in it builds "The Self" as each one knows it.
<B>R</b>ituals, traditions, times stored up by Memory~
<B>S</b>trong sentinel of selfhood, guarding all that's known as "Me."~
<B>O</b>pinions, facts, ideas, formed in days both near and far,
<B>N</b>etwork of the yesterdays that made us who we are.
<I><B>B</b>ones in the closet rattle, they won't stay there in the tomb,
<b>I</b>ll winds blow scents of failures past, which spell tomorrow's doom.
<B>T</b>error of all that might be now, because of what was then,
<B>T</b>yrants named "Could Have," "Should Have" rub salt into wounds again.
<B>E</b>ndless parade of mockers pointing out what's lost, not won,
<B>R</b>egrets which can't be silenced, mourning what can't be undone.</i>
<B>A</b>ll things are new to infant eyes, all must be stored away,
<B>S</b>aved 'til enough accumulates to shed light on the way.
<B>T</b>ests coming up! Better cram in grammar, math, and spelling,
<B>U</b>ntil the mind is brimming and the memory is swelling.
<B>T</b>hen from the storehouse, knowledge flows! New insights, theories bold,
<B>E</b>ach spark of genius lit by new flints striking against old.
<I><B>F</b>orgotten anniversaries, birthday cards belated,
<B>A</B>ppointments missed by someone, while others sat and waited.
<B>U</b>pset searchers hunt for things they laid down "who knows where?"
<B>L</b>ost drivers can't remember how to get from here to there.
<B>T</b>ruth is twisted 'round in court when details blur and fade,
<B>Y</b>esterday misremembered leads to innocence betrayed. </i>
<B>G</b>ilding ordinary things, making the everyday glow,
<B>E</b>vincing childish laughter from kids grown up long ago.
<B>N</b>icely sanding edges smooth, mercifully padding landings,
<B>T</b>aming harsh realities and old misunderstandings.
<B>L</b>ayers of nostalgia round off history's sharp corners,
<B>E</b>choes of lost loved ones bring a smile to grieving mourners.
<I><B>H</b>ellish scenes of war invade what should be peaceful dreaming,
<B>A</b>gonies with no relief change sleeping into screaming.
<B>U</b>nrelenting torment when the past invades the present,
<B>N</b>ightmares rob the waking hours of all that's good and pleasant.
<B>T</b>ime runs backwards, life is stolen by temporal thieving
<B>S</b>entencing forever to a life of endless grieving. </i>
<I><B>E</b>mpty eyes in aged face, the Sentinel is sleeping,
<B>N</b>eglectful of the history entrusted to its keeping.
<B>I</b>nstead of Self, a stranger stares back from the looking-glass </i>
<B>G</b>od leaves it now to loved ones to recall what came to pass.
<B>M</b>emory betrays, and yet still proves itself a friend,
<B>A</b>s kept by others, it preserves dignity in the end.
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