Wednesday, 27 May 2009


“Take away love and our earth is a tomb.” - Robert Browning

Our life is brief, our years in short supply like a small stack of parchment, which we have heedlessly scribbled on. To our horror, our incunabula have laid waste the precious resource and needing a clean surface in which to write our maturer thoughts, we have none. Our thrifty ancestors, master recyclers, made the old into new by rubbing down the used parchments and on the palimpsests, wrote again, their more gravid thoughts.

Would you take the opportunity to do the same with your life, were it possible? Try to efface all traces of years wasted and begin anew? Has this happened to you already? Out with old, in with the new? Forgive, forget, move on, write new chapters on parchments scraped clean? The trouble is, as with all palimpsests, one can still read the original, and ostensibly effaced, writing underneath the new…


Time passes and obliterates scars of old wounds,
Like the ink that blots the copybook.

My emotions fade, wafting aimlessly as my perception dulls,
Like the fog that obscures the landscape.

Years rush by, eroding the sharp pungency of my past life,
Like the sea that washes over the footsteps in the sand.

My memory begins to fail me and I forget you willingly,
Like the drawn veil that hides the beauty of the face.

All of the echoes of words I spoke, all of my fading words on old letters,
Like the writing on a blackboard, wiped by a sponge.

Our years together, as time passes, disappear
Like the black dye that seeps in and hides the pattern on the cloth.

As time passes, the densely written book of my existence,
Is unwritten; my life’s traces on the sand erased,
The printed words on paper lost, faded, effaced;
My parchment scraped almost clean,
The palimpsest ready for a new story.


  1. Wow! Another fabulous poem. Mastery is besides the point - you are there, you command your images... But the thought... And I know exactly what you are saying... Oh, how I wish I knew then what I know now! How acutely we feel the cold breath of approaching old age - "and mere oblivion"! Would I re-write my parchment? You bet! Would I regret it? Absolutely!

  2. Dear Nicholas,
    I am so very happy to hear from you! Thank you for your kindness and support!
    I do sometimes slip into depression bouts, and so - I just disappear, roll into a little ball, work-eat-sleep...
    I think I am better now, it is finally warm here, in Seattle (jackets are still a must), there is sunshine...
    Part of it is, probably, nostalgia...
    It's uncanny that again we think on parallel wave-lengths