Chasing After The Moment

An Hour With Jake

I want to bring a conversation to the Café today after a seed was planted from last week’s post, Is a Poem Ever Finished? The seed is around capturing a moment in our poetry.

As I started to write this post, the first rain in over three weeks began to fall in the English village where I live. It was a moment worthy of words, as the heatwave had started to impact and we needed rain. No sooner as pen had hit paper then the rain disappeared and the sun reappeared, the moment was gone. It made me think, do we ever capture and experience the moment in our poetry, or is all we can ever do is describe a reflection or a piece of our own history?

The French philosopher, Henri Bergson, said, “The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already a memory.” I think he has a point because no sooner as I try to think about a moment, it has gone and is confined to memory. Have a go for yourself.

The thought has hurt my head so much I wrote the following poem;

i thought about the moment
then it was gone
i tried again – same result.
before i knew it i was
racing down the high street
screaming, begging
for one moment
to stop
so i
could feel
and experience
its beauty.

each day the pattern repeats.

i’m exhausted.

Have you ever captured the moment in your poetry, or wrote about a lifetime trying? I’d love to hear about it. Let’s get the conversation going, the coffee is brewing.

15 thoughts on “Chasing After The Moment

    • I read your post and it is true we never know what we may capture in a moment. It shows that not only moments, but life can also fleeting. Maybe poems are like photo,s they may mean more later in life. Thanks for taking time to read and comment on the post joyroses13.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. It depends on how deep the moment moves the poet, and therefore how effectively the poet’s words move the reader, the more beautiful and intelligent our words the more likely we capture the moment. If we fail we are just recording our observations, marking time stating history, writing news.
    But here’s the thing, what separates the poet from the historian or news reader is we are adding a personal, emotional aspect. We are not presenting the reader with just words of beauty which aid recall.
    We are saying read my words and see, feel, sense as I do, almost a secret shared. We let people see and listen who normally only look and hear. It’s like the difference between watching a live band and listening to a recording, we hopefully enable people to feel like they’re at the gig while only listening to the recording and if we manage that,,,,we’ve captured the moment.
    Thank’s to my beautiful daughter, Becca. for typing this over and over for me !

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for these insightful thoughts Nigel (and Becca). I like your analogy of the live band and the recording. I suppose if we read the poem at a later date and it brings back the emotion of the moment then it is poetry. If it doesn’t, then, like you say Nigel, it is just a transcript.


  2. We may think a moment is captured but as we grow, our perception of that instance has changed. In my mind, the school where I attended first grade is a huge labyrinth of rooms and hidden doors that led to fantastic places. I visited it when I was older and it was so small and the secret doors were only closets. We may be able to capture a moment for a short while, but we can never contain it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a very good point Jerry. I think it is a bit like going back to places you visited on holiday and when you return it was never the same. As you say memory can change how we remember the moment. Thanks for taking time out to join in the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

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