I don’t remember


I don’t remember the house where I was born

nor the first words that I spoke,

first steps, first smile.

I don’t remember the day I started school

nor the first time I saw the sea.

The first ride on a train,

a plane, forgotten with familiarity.

I don’t remember the last time I saw my dad

or the last living look of my mother

nor my grandmother’s words before I left home.

I don’t remember why we broke up,

the words that were said or the colour of the sky.

If only, I say, I had known,

all these last times, these first times

I would have stored away,

hidden in a box beneath the bed

to take out and polish,

hone like a hunting knife

and let the memories dig, gouge, bite,

for the pain at least would remind me

that I once spoke and loved and lost

in that distant world full of yesterdays,

drifting away into the mists of oblivion.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

20 thoughts on “I don’t remember”

  1. I can’t say I remember first words on walk but, despite changing homes several times as a child, they are all etched in minute detail, in my memory.

    1. I left the house where I was born when I was four months old, so I think I can be excused for not remembering it 🙂 After that we didn’t move again, so all my childhood memories are of the same house.

      1. I think for children the boundary between the real and imagined is that much more fluid than it is for adults. One reason maybe why the world of childhood sometimes seems so magical.

      2. I know, it makes growing old a punishment. All the magic is chipped and stripped away, tooth fairies, Santa

  2. Powerful words, Jane. Unfortunately, I do remember my first day at school. I bawled my eyes out and tried to escape, even got as far as the front gate before the girl assigned to keep an eye on me caught up. (I was a fast runner in those days).

    1. I can sympathise 🙂 My first day at school memories have probably been muddied because I only went the first day, then my mother had another baby and there was nobody to take me to school. When I started again it was after Christmas and I suppose the initial awfulness of it was half expected.

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