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

18 thoughts on “Retrace

    1. Thank you. This is a topic I return to time and time again. The only poems I write concerning romantic love are aimed at a man I haven’t seen for forty years. I expect my story gets a bit boring after a while, but I don’t suppose many people have read all of the poems. I’ve considered giving the series its own category, to see how many my readers can get through without falling asleep. However, I’m particularly pleased with this one.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Who says, it’s failing? Nothing is failing, unless you write that … no regrets? No regrets, unless it’s meant …. Seek your love and all will be revealed Cheers Jamie


    1. Your comment made me smile. Many times I’ve thought that life has given me more than I can handle, but the next day I’m still here, and the following week I’m usually smiling 🙂
      Here’s the lowdown on that guy; I met him when I was in my teens. He was four years older than me, and our love was innocent. Something happened (that story would fill a book) and he thought I’d deserted him. He married someone else, then found out what had happened to me, and regretted it. Every so often he’d turn up at my door, and for a few weeks we’d spend evenings together, mostly sitting in his van talking. Then he’d feel guilty and not show again for months. I can’t describe the pain of those separations. After about seven years of this, by which time he had two sons, we got carried away and climbed into the back of the van…
      The next day I knew I had to finish it. It had gone too far. He was married, and anyway, that was not how I envisaged love.
      I didn’t love either of the fathers of my children…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. you’ve been dealt very sad and tough cards in this life Jane but you’re one super strong lady to have turned it all into lemonade 🙂 a privilege to know you 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I feel humbled by your words. It’s me who is priveleged, to have such a supportive and encouraging friend. Please believe me when I say that I would be a far lesser person than I am, if it weren’t for amazing folks such as you and several others in the blogging community.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ah you could still do it maybe we just add some encouragement … how about an interview with me for Meet the Bloggers? Seen my other blog … first post is “format” for the interview. Let me know ..

            Liked by 1 person

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