“Do you remember”

Each Friday I post one of my poems.

Do you remember how we used to sit
In silence, there, beside an open door?
Such happy hours were they, those days gone by,
Though far more bittersweet than then I knew;
But now, alack! those days have fled away—
And, ever as when dearest friends depart,
Now we have parted to our separate ways
And I have wandered long in timeless thought,
I find parts of my heart were left behind.

I wrote this a few weeks ago, perhaps after a dream brought this memory to mind.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions (perhaps of a real title for this poem), questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. You can also read other poems I’ve written here on my blog.

This poem is also posted on my wiki.

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5 thoughts on ““Do you remember”

    • Thank you for your comment. “Ad” was indeed a typo, but it was supposed to be “And”; I’ve now corrected it.

      On any given poem, using (the first part of) the first line as the title can work well, and I’d agree that this is one of the better ones among my poems. But I don’t think it’s good to have nearly half my poems following that pattern—and I do.

  1. Jonathan, in the following line, should this be “then than I knew”?

    Though far more bittersweet than then I knew;

    Love the image of being seated by the open door!

    This type of title works (I’ve already forgotten the term that you taught me). With some of your poetry, this kind of title works best, because other types would still the thunder from certain strong lines.

    • “… than then I knew” is metrically equivalent to “… than I knew then”; switching the “then” and “than” would … muddy … what is there a fairly crisp pace.

      While the “open door” works as an image, it’s not really intended as such—I’m attempting to evoke (if obliquely and poetically) a specific span of time in which every other day or so we’d arrive at our classroom before the previous class finished, and sit there in companionable silence until the time came.

      The term for the first phrase(s) of something, especially used to refer to the whole, is “incipit”—Latin for “[he, she, or it] begins”.

      The additional trouble with using incipits rather than creating a “real title” for every poem is that poems often start similarly … like this one and the one I called Paths of Memory. (Which shouldn’t be combined, by the way, because that is addressing a different group of friends with a different set of shared memories.)

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