Theme: Past

Oral Histories

White Rose.JPG
The sharp prickle of the past
Carries the rose of memory and desire
In a convoluted consciousness
Dulling pain through slimsy recollection
 
Our experience is not fixed but changing
And during stimulated recall or free response,
Meaning trickles and gets transformed
Launching a new perspective
 
Oral history preserves
The memory of the peoples
Regarding their participation,
Observation and forgetting of the past
 
It offers new understanding of our lived life.
An account of minorities excluded from
Standard historical documents
Enriching or contradicting available information.
 
The question of how reliable
Oral history is
Poses a new interpretative challenge
To our modernist historical project!
 
Memories are fallible
And the delicate relationship
Between interviewer and narrator,
The many cultural assumptions,
 
The physical health of the narrator,
The passage of time,
And the way narrator repositions his past
All play their imperative roles
 
Even when the voice is persuasive
It must be scrutinized for reliability
To help find answers to contentious questions
Or get information about little-known facts.
 
The multifoliate rose falls petal by petal
Upon the skin of memory
Turning an eternal yearning
Into wish-fulfillment.
Image © Mukesh Williams

23-Jan-2012

More By  :  Mukesh Williams

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