Meditation at Lagunitas
by Robert Hass
Meditation at Lagunitas Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (line)
It hardly had to do with her. (line 23)
The speaker’s desire for the woman has very little to do with her specific looks or personality. It has more to do with the positive, happy thoughts that she reminds him of, like fishing on a riverbank.
Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances. I must have been the same to her. (lines 24-25)
The "distance" here is one of time, not space. It’s the distance between the present and the past. The speaker digs into the language we use to talk about desire – the word "longing" – and tries to figure out why that word might be appropriate. We desire people because they connect us to the lost past, a place that exists only in memory. This is a bittersweet thought.
But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,
the thing her father said that hurt her, what
she dreamed.(lines 26-28)
Oh, good. For a second there we thought that the speaker doesn’t know anything about the woman except for her small shoulders. But, he actually knows her pretty well, enough so that there are other pleasant memories which have more to do with her that can come to mind during sex. He finds it strange that these powerful memories aren’t as important to him as his own, private memories of his childhood.