Pasts that never were


Pasts That Never Were


Memories of a past I dreamt I had

Float through foggy sights.

Twinkling city lights

Paint the pictures of a home

I never lived in.

Snowy winters trudging through city streets

I moved away from before I could make them mine.

Soft murmurs of what could have been

If only things went differently,

Waft on sound-waves reaching my mind.

Wanderings of wondering greet me in the morning,

Peeling back the layers revealing

Shards of lives ended before beginning

As choices were made.


Breaking dawn only wakes those who were sleeping,

All the rest bear witness to its brilliance,

While we imagine how it looks from the other side.

Light of day shows card catalogs of lives

Waiting to be picked,

Pasts discarded, replaced with new ones,

Futures shifted and reshaped of shredded cards.

Hushed voices of those unlived lives,

Yearn for a place, a microphone to spread their words.

Instead snow covered streets

Hold the trackless wandering of the ghosts

Of all my pasts and futures that won’t be lived,

Mixing together on their lonely road.

Reaching chilly hands, with icy fingers

To a tired mind,

Giving glimpses of possibilities never possible.


I walk these country roads,

Placing opaque images of city streets

With all their ghosts

On top of trees, just to see what happens.

Bird calls, and falling leaves wipe away

A past that wasn’t mine and a future not quite ready.

Leaving me with only all that was

Only all that will be

Only all that is.


So frequently we become caught up in our story, in the past, in the future. Wondering what would be if the past had been different, or wishing things had been different. These things can occupy so much of our thoughts. Especially in times when things aren’t going the way we hoped, planned or wanted. Then again sometimes these thoughts are just inspired by walking down a road and wondering what could have been. This poem is a journey of my own with the past. How I was drawn to these thoughts while walking, but eventually coming back to the present realizing that thinking and wishing will never change the past and that now is all we ever really have. It’s important to recognize the value in the past, in history, but to remember that the present moment is where life happens. What do you think?


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