The Here and Now; the Future, the Past


User: (WT-shared) 耕太郎 at wts wikivoyage [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Monday Morning Musings:


Henry: “If you look across the desert, the earth takes on the appearance of the sea. You think you’re standing upon a rock that rises from solid ground only to discover that you’re standing on an island in the middle of the ocean. And you don’t know if you’re looking back into the past or into the future. Water covered this earth and water will cover it again and the days that man walked here will prove just a moment in time.”

–Andrew Bovell, When the Rain Stops Falling


The here and now,

the future

from the past

all intertwined.

Back and forth,

each moment lost

before it registers.

This moment,

here, now

is already gone.


The play begins with rain falling on the stage,

a fish falls from the sky

and a man picks it up.

It will be his lunch,

lunch with the son he has not seen in many years.

The man had heard rumors that fish still existed

not totally extinct,

but still,

fish do not normally drop from the sky

Then again,

life is full of unusual moments

and strange coincidences.


Patterns are repeated

throughout nature,

fractals, the Fibonacci numbers, golden spirals,

tessellations, waves, and ripples,

ripples through,

ripples of time

carrying patterns

the shape, the color of an eye

You look just like your grandfather,

your mother, your sister—


fathers leaving sons

And so might words also be repeated,

particular phrases also carry through time?


In the play,

they eat fish soup

in different times and places.

I think of the fish soup

I made for my husband, for me.

Mine, unlike the one in the play,

was made without heads,

but with plenty of vegetables.

More of a stew, actually,

but still.

It was a few weeks ago,

do you remember?

It was delicious,

and we ate it for a couple of days,

enjoying each spoonful

till it was gone,

in the past,

a memory.

Yet there is a photograph,

posted on social media sites–

the moment frozen in time

lasting through eternity.


Fish Stew


I have a dream.

In it

my mother is younger

her hair still dark brown,

and she is going to work.

She leaves through a front door,

and my cat,

a cat who is my constant companion now,

in the here and now,

goes out the door, too.

I panic,

but he does not run away.

I scoop him back into the house,

where I play the piano,


I tell my sister,

or is it one of my daughters,

(the generations mix and blur)

it’s the theme song I remember,

but it is a Bach minuet.


I can’t actually remember when my mother was a young girl.

I wasn’t born.

Does she remember it,

youth, I mean?

I see her in a photograph–

that moment frozen.

That moment then

what was

is here now for me to see.

But as I look, my thoughts move on

to the future,

even as I regard the past.


My parents. I have no idea where they were or what they were celebrating.

When we watch a play,

or a movie,

when we read a book,

we are there,

while being here.

Is this a paradox of human existence?

The here and now,

the past, present, future

time and place co-existing in our minds?


And in the play

it is raining,

raining for days,

weeks perhaps,

and sometimes it seems,

it seems as though the rain will never stop falling.

But it does,

and we walk out of the theater

and the clouds are gone.

The sun is shining

splendid, glowing

as it has through the past

and will continue to do

for some time, I hope.

The future,

when I am no longer here.

But now,

here and now,

it is shining brightly

illuminating the darkness,

chasing the shadows away.



Post theater consideration of the menu at Tria.


We saw When the Rain Stops Falling by Andrew Bovell

At the Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia. I enjoyed it very much, an intriguing play with characters from periods of time between 1959 and 2039, in London and Australia, sometimes on the stage at the same time. The all share a connection.

There is relationship between the family saga and the Anthropocene. It’s possible that I said to my husband, “I love plays that come with further reading.” And that he laughed and said, “I know you do.” There is an interview with the playwright on the Wilma Theater’s web site.



31 thoughts on “The Here and Now; the Future, the Past

  1. Hi Merril,
    I loved your poem with your philosophical reflections. I love exploring that nunnoo nunnoo eeriness between past, present and future and getting a bit surreal. I am currently reading some poems by Pablo Nerruda and loving them.
    I have a lot of encounters which don’t make any sense. Yesterday, I ran into my second cousin from Brisbane on the way to a family lunch and invited her along. She hadn’t seen most of my side of the family for a few years since my grandmother’s funeral but it was amazing timing and “meant to be”…a phrase my Mum uses a lot.
    BTW I am hoping to get to the Jewish Museum in Sydney on Thursday to see those letters by Otto Frank. I’ve checked their website but I’m not sure whether I’ve missed it. Thanks so much for letting me know about it and I’ll keep you posted.
    xx Rowena

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Rowena. I was thinking of you when we saw the play, since the playwright is Australian and much of the play is set in Australia. (There are probably references I didn’t get.)
      I like Neruda, too. (Did you ever see the movie, Il Postino? ) 🙂
      I had totally forgotten about the letters there. I hope you get to see them! Yes, please let me know.

  2. Ayer’s Rock – a sacred place – Thanks Merril, this is very moving capturing the paradox that is life – and synchronous too in that the theme of time and timelessness is one that has popped up in the last day or so for me –

    The poem is very beautiful too – truly this is excellent –

  3. Isn’t it great when we get help with our thinking? What to think? Wait, make that what to think about. Who needs help with “what to think about,” right? We have so much gong on in our lives, why make room for more? Yeah, but once we do start thinking, it’s there, a part of us, because our nature steers those thoughts. Of course, we weigh the information we receive, but it’s part of that great world that surrounds us. It always was a part of us.
    I think.
    I think I ramble.

  4. Beautiful poem and reflections of the here and now, of the tricks and slipperiness of time. I learned a new word (tessellations) too (always a bonus). I am now yearning for some fish stew and will have to make some soon. 🙂

  5. The play inspired so many deep thoughts, Merril. I liked the rain pattern upon the musings and ponderings within your own poetic life expressions! 🙂 I love reading more after I have a special experience and appreciated how your husband said this, I know you do. Such a lovely relationship, Merril. ❤

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