Message From the Past

Here’s something a bit different.

For reasons quite unrelated to this post I stumbled upon a strange and slightly haunting artefact today. I refer to the picture above. It was given to me long, long ago, in a gesture, I believe, of sincere love. I should point out that we are talking about teen love here – the purest of love, but not always the best thought out. I failed to appreciate it properly, as such, at the time, and am suddenly harbouring feelings of guilt.

Not that there’s any shortage of things to feel guilty about in my past.

I’ve had to snip the bottom off it a bit for publication, as it gets a bit personal, lower down (no pun intended). The poem is by a fellow named Rabindranath Tagore,who sounds like a character from a Kurt Vonnegut novel but was, in fact, a Bengali poet and painter who won the Nobel prise for literature in 1913. So what I uncovered today turns out to be part of a very long story, I suppose.

The poem itself is here.


Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come out from the depths of truth;
Where tireless striving
stretches its arms towards perfection; Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sand of dead habit; Where the mind is led forward
by thee into ever widening
thought and action-
into that heaven of freedom,
my father,
let my country awake.


It’s difficult to know what possible association the poem has to the drawing and the (very brief) relationship that gave rise to it. It was a fairly cosmic period of my life. A lot of strange things happened.

I don’t know if the drawing actually means anything to anyone anywhere. I’d certainly be interested to hear if it did.

But I bring it into the light again as a way of saying, to somebody, both thank you and sorry. I’m sure that, in some language, there’s a word that means both.

14 thoughts on “Message From the Past

  1. “It was a fairly cosmic period of my life. A lot of strange things happened.”

    Very relatable line…

    I love the poem, it has a lot of sublimes and metaphors, definitely a conversation piece.

    Guilt is such a shitty emotion, drowns me some days but the show must go on. I think it’s great you still have this, It must hold meaning ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know how to respond honestly to that, really. It’s like it means a lot to me quite suddenly, yet I don’t really know what it means – especially now. The guilt of it all is that when I was given it I really didn’t care what it meant.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. With maturity, comes revaluation, we have many regrets but we move forward in spite of them. We live with so many experiences that flood our consciousness at the strangest times and the wonder of it all can overtake us. Just know that it holds meaning to you and you are appreciating it NOW because you are present, to be present and able to feel is a gift ❤


      2. Am I in the present? I often wonder. Everything sometimes feels like all moments compressed into one. There’s a part of me that’s here and now – buying groceries and cleaning my teeth and worrying about the electricity bills. The other bit is all over the place and time. That’s the bit that seems more natural


      3. Omg, yesssss, that’s just how my brains functions, everywhere and nowhere all at the same time 🤪🤯🥴

        There are those moments when I am present, normally in times of deep depression, I know just where I am in the moment, present, so to speak but have no idea how I came to be there, here and every fucking where 🤯


      4. Well I must say that I was strangely moved by yesterday’s little experience of the odd letter that I uncovered. I knew it was there somewhere, of course, but I’ve just never really looked at it.
        So, effectively, somebody wrote me a sincere love letter and it took me 40 years to open it. I can’t help but feel that something magical happened – it’s like some sort of warping of time.
        It also strikes me as an interesting idea to structure a novel around.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a treasure from the past although I wonder whether it fits into your decor, now?
    Nice that you are revisiting it. The past often feels like a different world, a different life. That I suppose is the purpose in living to older age? To view things with a different lens?


    1. That’s an interesting point. The decor here is a bit eclectic, in fact. But I’m not sure that it’s the kind of thing Mrs Richmond, as understanding as she is, really wants hanging on the wall as a talking point – especially as some of the text is a bit …. um … you know.


  3. That time when you suddenly become aware of life and that it’s yours and the sky is so fucking blue. Who knew? And poetry is a revelation, life in high key.
    Those little glimpses of recognition and connection are a delight as we blithely wend our way, not realizing. Crashing through the undergrowth!
    I have guilt too, but wear it lightly. I’ve crashed more undergrowth than that.


    1. Bobbyla. How sweet of you to comment. And you are right. Those little glimpses of recognition – little flashes out there in that blue sky – are only tiny pixels in a bigger picture. But without even one pixel the picture itself loses life and meaning. It is not important to understand what it is that you recognise. It is enough just to acknowledge that you recognise something.
      The picture featured in this post is, then, not something I claim to fully understand. To know that it has meaning at all, or once did, is sufficient.


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