Harrison is married to opera singer theresa stravos. Visiting her father who has alzheimers; this poem is about alzheimer"s. Also deeply about loss of memory and holocaust. The creation of culture and the preservation of the past as means of coping with the present. Greek word for memory mnemosyne meaning the mother of muses" memory". You can"t have imagination without memory or language without memory because language itself is dependent on memory. Their identity essentially disappears to people who have alzheimers. Unpacking this poem is serious. l. 163: bombing of the dresden zoo. Harrison is counting on the bodily effect the fu" sound to provide emphasis. It doesn"t blame one person, but more general issues. It"s hard to kill human beings, so people reduce them to animals which are easier to kill in their minds. The sense that at least the old folks were spared, ties into the theme.