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When We Forget by Clint Needham, a Project 440 commission

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Published on Mar 15, 2012

More at www.orpheusproject440.org


Composer Insight
By Clint Needham

I recently found myself looking through pictures of my twins, reflecting on their early months, when I realized there were a number of photographs that did not resonate with me. I initially laughed this off as being a tired new parent of twins, which I certainly was/am. But the more I thought about it, the more frustrated I became that I could not remember parts of my children's life.




This frustration lead me to casually research the mind and our capacity for memory. I soon stumbled across the website for the Alzheimer's Poetry Project and my frustration soon became insignificant as I read more about people afflicted by this horrible disease. Though I have had family members with Alzheimer's, I had never thought about how scared, lonely, and painful it must be to lose your memory—to lose your identity. When We Forget is a reflection on these themes, as well as an homage to all of those suffering from the disease and their heroic caregivers.




Direct inspiration for the work came from the Alzheimer's Poetry Project's founder, Gary Glazner's touching poem, We Are Forget:

We are the words we have forgotten.
We are shifting and pacing.
We wrote this poem.
It's a pretty poem.
Can you bake a cherry pie?
Never more, never more.
We have no horizon.
We don't recall washing or eating
or what you just said.
Ask me my name.
Ask me if I have children?
You're a pretty lady.
You have beautiful eyes.
Wash me, put me to bed clean,
hold me as I fall asleep.
Give me a kiss, brush my hair.
You are my daughter?
Light washing over us moment, moment.
You're a handsome man.
Our hand writing is beautiful
twists and loops of letters
we can't remember our hands.
Our ears are wishful
we can't remember our ears.
We can speak every language,
we can't remember our mouths.
We are porous.
We are the past.
We are forget.

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