If I retrace each pace along my failing route;
reverse each inspiration, every foolish move,
take back each sleeping dream, each waking thought,
unpurchase every acquisition bought,
unlearn my hard-earned lessons, one by one,
unbirth my babies, unconceive them from my womb,
unbreak my every vow; yes, reinstate, to then unmake,
unlaugh, uncry, ungrow, that I may take away
each ticking second thieving time has pleated in its depths,
until you walk my way, that I may slow my backward steps –
If I retrace my past and uninstall full four decades,
then halt my retrogression, behind the choice I made –
If I return to that remembered day
when I wept, yet cut the rope, and walked away —
whatever game my wandering mind may play,
no disparate blots would shape the pattern that I made,
for if all memories of unravelled future were erased
each reeled-in moment would replay the same, unfazed.
My cause would still be thinly writ
in rippling water, and a flickering torch would still be lit —
and if I recalled all the film of forty years,
I’d live it all again, dispite the slurry pit of tears.
If I be weakened by romantic promise
and fall into your arms, and if I cry a joyful “Yes!” –
Should that occur, no-one will be saved.
My offspring will not tiptoe gently to their graves —
There’ll be no grave; and though unborn they will remain,
my memories of what will never be
will fester, every pip of non-existence haunting me.
And so, my love, I would not seek to rearrange, or take away
one moment of this life that broke me, made me;
gave me every foul and fulsome day.
I hold our wilful, wilesome, smiling secrets hidden in my head,
to ease me into restful sleep, as I lie counting in my bed.
I steal a distant pleat of time,
and side-by-side, we stroll down tree-lined lanes;
I stroke your youthful face, and we are still the same, still the same.
Your phantom eyes are sad, while mine are wet,
and yet within your kiss, I breathe this simple phrase:
“Je ne regrette rien.”
No; no regret; though my dream may leave no physical trace,
its spring-fresh scent will never fade.
The Daily Post #Trace
©Jane Paterson Basil