This street

The NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a portrait poem. This is the portrait of a street in the form of a haibun.



This street is one of those where the smell is not of cars or rubbish or urine. Old and clean and a little damp, it hits the senses like a flashback memory. It leaks from beneath the lid of a plat mijoté and slips through the open window. A scent of clean linen, neatly folded in mahogany commodes, hangs sedate and comforting, amid the earthy scents of cats on window ledges, stone-flagged pavements, and pots of scented geraniums.

I walk tangled in the odours of sun on stone and rain in puddles, and the gutter runs yellow with pollen. It brings back the magic of just out of school, skipping and football and marbles, new bread and wax polish. It recalls grandparents and clean aprons, Saturday shopping, evenings sitting outdoors, a childhood of leg-swinging and upside-down hanging.

It smells of home.


Sun falls, rain patters,

years turn, the stone remembers

in case we forget.


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.

11 thoughts on “This street”

    1. Thank you for reading! It was a strange moment, walking down a street I don’t know very well, and being hit by an out of time feel to the air. Like being transported back in time.

    1. I’m so glad you liked this one, Merril! It was a very strange sensation. I took a route I don’t usually take and stepped out of the city and into a timeless zone that just felt and smelled different. Just a short street that reminded me so vividly of places I used to know.

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