by Xanthe   Nov 24, 2012

I remember
a little house in Italy atop a sloping hill,
where the smell of chocolate lingered
a little longer, and baked bread by
midday is not something foreign.

I remember
a winding path shaded by an arbour -
thick with honeysuckle tangling itself
through trellis, and there is a pond where
the path ends and a stretch of meadow
goes on and on until it meets the woods.

I remember
a younger us; ignoring time within the
bosom of this place - a tiny piece of earth
where we used to think only our
voices and breathing and laughter existed.

- - - -

There was this day;
a day that fell betwixt November and
December - I cannot remember exactly -
but it was half-past four, and the sky
seemed too indecisive, shifting hues of
a dying Autumn to a Winter's rebirth and

It was a day spent without routine
- we felt freedom -
for we were silent;
even the larks denied us their requiem,
as though they too went to sleep,
sensing despondency and dread
in the dead air.

(despondency for what had come;
dread for what was to come...)

But we were there - living a separate
life, a world apart from reality.

"Why weren't you happy?"

I remember wanting...
wanting to keep that memory forever
until it hurts.

I remember fear cutting
my throat until I couldn't speak, afraid
I'd wake up one day
of how your embrace smelled faintly of
the woods, and vanilla; faint yet

I felt
significant and purpose for a moment:
feeling alive, for once.
Perhaps, too alive.
Perhaps not.

I remember
how I wanted...
wanted to hold on
to that mem'ry

- - - -

There was once a day 'twixt November
and December, I forgot whether it was
Autumn or Winter, but I remember:
ev'rything I wanted to forget.

Written for a club challenge.


"If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again."

- Daphne du Maurier, "Rebecca"


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Latest Comments

  • 5 years ago

    by The Queen

    First and foremost, well done! The poet has definitely done a good job by responding to the given prompt, accurately, completely and specifically.

    The title of this poem prepares the readers for what to expect, something that is unavoidable. Again, notice its relationship to the prompt. No time in our lives is ever permanent, but it will always be there in our memories and sometimes, whether we like it or not, it's the only best way to look at it. The title also portrays one of the major themes in this piece, that of yearning. "I remember" is usually linked to good times we shared with those people we never want to leave behind.

    The poet also describes "these memories" in a countless of ways, which is evident in every stanza of the poem and as it ends, the images of those happy moments come alive once more. Reading this poem is like seeing a fine picture of the poet's past. Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece with us.

  • 5 years ago

    by Karla

    Your poem reminded me of my grandparents and of my friend's father. He's Italian and I had lunch with him last week. My daughter was saying she is learning English so he gave me a reproachful glance and and asked:"Why is she learning English? To speak with you at home? She should be learning Italian to visit your grandparents' land. Then he started to talk about Cosenza and Calabria and my heart drenched in memories, in thoughts, in pain. I asked him:" Do you still miss Italy?" He answered:"Yes, but everybody is dead. I am more Brazilian than Italian now."But I could see a shadow behind his blue eyes and that longing for his country I once felt for mine too and those things can't be explained in words. We feel them because nothing is like the place where we were born no matter how hard it is to live there. He " held those memories forever". Your poem touched my heart and I know it would break Ms Domenico's heart too if he could read in English. He has a painting of Consenza on a wall in his living room and I am sure he feels what your poems portrays so beautifully as well as my grandmother felt when she was all alone weeping. Beautiful piece Xanthe. I am never tired of reapeating myself and says you are my favourite Poet/ess.May the Gods keep your heart poetic forever.

  • 5 years ago

    by Chelsey

    But it was half-past four, and the sky
    seemed too indecisive, shifting hues of
    a dying Autumn to a Winter's rebirth and

    ^^ Freaking hell girl, this poem needed to win just because of those lines right indecisive sky! OMG I always look for a new way to describe the sky and that was brilliant.

    You almost wrote the perfect script to a movie here I picture every little detail, seriously so impressed, but I always expect that from you!

    Awesome job sweet one!!

  • 5 years ago

    by Jenni

    Xanthe you're so enchanting and each of your poems shows that just as well.. this is no exception.

    The title seems to be rather simple compared to what you usually pick. Not that I would mind, it is just something that I had noticed and felt like pointing out because maybe it has a meaning... in the sense of something having changed drastically, which I guess it did.

    Although the speaker emphasizes that she remembers that house in Italy, it felt a bit as though she had never been there, but only seen it somehow... maybe a picture? I think that Italy is a beautiful country, which seems to make sure that even though time passes it is not required to modernise everything. I actually think of wine when I think about that country instead of chocolate and the location of the hill supported my thought. Baked bread being foreign at a time made me ponder and I have to admit that I still do not know what you mean by that.
    The second stanza darkens the whole image that I created in my mind simply because you said that the path was shaded... quite fascinated how one word can change a complete atmosphere. I was almost able to feel the breeze that sways through the meadow, leading my view to the mood. Your way with words is exquisite and I feel as though these stanzas flow really well.
    "A younger us"? That made me feel as though I was part of the scene and I liked how you did not reveal that the speaker is thinking about someone until that part.. I feel that it becomes the most personal there and that even though you repeat "I remember".

    Sigh the second part... I can't even pause to point out what I liked because it just has to be finished and read over and over again. It is so beautiful, especially how you picked up one stanza again, but rearranged it a little. What a glorious ending. It almost felt as though the reader was rushing through those thoughts, feeling the urge to actually say some once more.

    The only thing I wasn't too fond of, is that in the second part 4 stanzas started with "I", but that can be ignored completely!!

    You're so enchanting.

  • 5 years ago

    by Hannah Lizette

    First of all, congrats on winning the challenge! When I received your poem, I was blown away and knew instantly it would win! <3

    I think I've stated like a thousand times how much I love there is no need for me to say it again. I'm glad that you used this excerpt... it is amazing and I have even wrote it down in a notebook I have to read over and over... the poem it inspired, my God... there are no words really. It drips with nostalgia and just makes my heart sigh.

    I will definitely nominate on Monday!