For example, my father's brother, Edgie, a corporal in the South Saskatchewan regiment, I knew was captured in the Dieppe Raid during the second world war and spent the next almost three and a half years as a prisoner of war in Stalag 8 B in Germany. Ken's son and I were speaking of this recently and I told him that while in prison Edgie had wagered with a fellow prisoner that he could swallow a dead mouse they had for a dollar.. Ken interrupted me to say I was wrong and that he had bet that he could bite the mouse in half for a dollar. He apparently did! Now neither Ken nor I have talked about this, to my knowledge, for 60 years, but his superior acuity does not take away from the horror I felt in learning of the event and whether biting or swallowing, is beside the point. The point is the raw and outlandish behavior of the state of young men as prisoners of war and my feeling of revulsion. So far this story has nothing elevated to teach or learn.
But I have been reading Roger Lundin's book, Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief. He says, "----for her, (Emily) memory meant the recollection of intense experiences or encounters, rather than the rituals of general commemoration." In addition he says, " It usually involved a revival of sensory impress. She was only intrigued by the memory of what went on within the dwelling of her conscious life." I think that summarizes the difference between Ken and me, memory as feelings and acuity.
Ken was a journalist and a school teacher. He saw and remembered the details of what went on, vividly and accurately. My recollection of the same set of facts that we would have heard so very long ago is completely colored by my recall of the feelings. The acuity is swept away by the feelings which are the more powerful in me and others.
In a world today of law ,testimony, false memory syndrome, accusation, redemption, recall, regrets, hurt, loss, acuity, recompense, redress, damnation and justice , and the passage of time; it requires we stick with the reporter, rather than the poet.