Taste of past places

I wanted to write a cadralor for the dverse prompt. I don’t think this is one really, and it needs more work, but it’s late. I’ll look at it again another time.

Taste of past places

We never ate out when I was growing up.
No money for that kind of thing
and where would we have gone?
Only with you, always with you, to sit watching you,
the sensual joy of watching enjoyment, indulgence,
and on your skin, the candlelight.

Hilltop town encircled by vineyards,
Giotto colours, background of ochre and eggshell blue sky.
I never even imagined living there.
Too close to perfection, even longing
for a green-shuttered house of orange stone
would have been a sin.

Shrieking brakes and voices raised,
anger dying down as easily as it flared.
Laughter and the roar of a scooter.
The gutters were full of cigarette packets, Nazionali,
And the streets always smelled of urine,
and pizza bianca from the darkly enticing trattorie.

So many times we slipped in among the students
and workers, the noisy, crowded places
where food was cheap, and there was no menu.
Always spaghetti with tomatoe sauce. Basil leaves.
We were i ragazzi francesi
not knowing enough Italian to put them straight.

Nights I smell things. The migraines do that.
Perfume sometimes or odd, dead things.
But I never smell pines and Nazionali,
sun cream with sand in it, pizza bianca,
Frascati and red Colli di Trasimeno.
I never smell the past that was where we began.


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.

30 thoughts on “Taste of past places”

  1. I like this–so full of sensory details and images. I think maybe you’re right about it not be a cadralor because there’s sort of a narrative thread, but it’s still a good poem. (Lame comment because it’s too late for me now, too.) ๐Ÿ˜

    1. Thanks Merril. It was too late to think of a way of responding to the prompt and writing a cadralor. Too late to ask myself, why try to write a cadralor in the first place?

      1. It was a hard one, surprisingly. It’s years since I’ve eaten out, more than five. A visiting friend took us out. The time before that, not far off five years it was the same friend. We hadn’t eaten out since our last holiday before the eldest was born, so all my restaurant memories are very much romantic ones ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. ” And the streets always smelled of urine,” –
    reminded me of a wall near the central market place of my hometown. I am pretty sure if they would have left it like that after few generations there would have been an ammonia mine.
    Great read Jane.

    1. Thank you. Going from a country where only drunks peed in the street, and only behind the pub, continental cities seemed really smelly.

      Yours is one of the blogs where WP won’t let me leave either a comment or a like. This is the comment I tried to leave.

      And the moral of that story is…’learn to cook and stay away from snotty exclusive places. Give the lobsters a break.’ From the Hobgoblin Liberation Front’ manifesto.

  3. You bring each place alive with all the multi sensory descriptions. But the last one sounds so wistful. Love it, Jane. ๐Ÿ™‚

    “And the streets always smelled of urine,”…here roadside peeing is the norm. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

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