Nowadays the Blue

[What we Learn When We Are Learning]

Memory
At the end of the lengthy story
Of optimism gained and
Lost

The optimists: those who fail with enthusiasm
And the minority opinion that prevails
Because one laid flat out on the grave of his ancestor
Got strong there
And brought another one in

And another
And another

Until G*d Herself could not sustain the anger of forgetfulness
And to remember we concluded with —
Include in your fringes a thread of blue
To remember and do all the mitzvahs you have been
Given

What’s the relation between the thread and blue
And remember and do?

For that we have to move ahead in time to the Greeks
And visual imagery as a mnemonic device
Memory palaces –

Used a second time by the Greek poet Simonides in 477 BCE
Simonides the only survivor of a roof collapse
killed all the guests at the banquet —
How did it happen?

He visualized who was sitting where around the table
Simonides: people remember location

Roman generals later learned the names of their soldiers
The medievals memorized their religious tomes
European mystics of 15th and 16th centuries created memory theaters
Fanciful locations where mystical facts were stored

A thread of blue – look and remember
Simple, but no inherent relationship between
The blue
The murex
The purple
The fine Japanese pen of the same name
The dentist from the Territories
Who identified how to make it –

It comes up once every seventy years
Nowadays I carry it around in my pocket

jsg, usa