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Memories are powerful, whether they are sad, tragic or joyful, they define us. Sometimes a word, a scent, or a social space can evoke a memory. For this poem I have gone back in time to a house where I lived as a child.

 

 



With mixed emotions I return to the grand old house on the hill.
A forlorn stillness <embraces me> from rooms that have been stripped
of the familiar.
The mahogany mantelpiece that once groaned
under the weight of countless photographs of smiling faces is now laid
bare.

The once vibrant kitchen where my parents used to do battle for the stove,
madly cooking marmalade and mulberry jam,
their memories quickly covered
by new paint and tiled floor.

Creaking floorboards echo my footsteps as I enter a bedroom where hopes and dreams
were once
cherished.

A Rapunzel-haired girl sits at the dressing table, the gilded mirror boasts a girlish visage,
eyes bright, but
superimposed with a maturing face and eyes that show
flickering
shadows. 

Through the window I see a young girl, playing in the yard.
I am lost in reverie as I watch her as she soars higher and higher on a swing.
Laughter fills my ears, along with the exuberant splashing of water from
the pool
that was once shared with friends on many a long
hot
summer.

My tryst with the past leads me

back
to the family room where ghosts greet me.
Clothed in white an innocent child spins and
twirls
like
a
ballerina.
under a
grandiose chandelier.

A
gaudily decorated
Christmas tree with
twinkling fairy lights pulses
in time
with serenading
Christmas Carols.

The sweet fruity aroma of my Grandma's Christmas cake fills the room as she places it
on
a festive dining table that seems invisible
under
a banquet of food.

Turning
to close
the door.
I hope that I can <trap these spectres within these familial spaces>.
Reluctantly I shut
and lock IIIIIIIIIIIII the gates.

The final click! of the key signals
closure.
A house that can no
longer be
my
home.
But now is safely confined
to the realm of
memory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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