Keeper of Memories

English: Yamaha baritone saxophone

Image via Wikipedia

Keeper of Memories

In musty basement dark
of that old house upon the hill
an old man finds a tattered leather case
(dimpled faux-finish, I now see)
caresses it as though it were his lover,
while I stand by and watch.

Gnarled hands fumble
at a rusty clasp that keeps
the contents from intrusion.
In spite of trembling that I know so well,
unwanted company of his later years,
he eases the lid open on its wobbly hinges.

Pungent aromas escape to fan
familiar once-upon-a-time remembrances
of when I was a child.

Images flash forward,
rape my ears, my eyes–
and cold smooth surfaces, my touch,
so that a melding of sensations
hurls me back in time
to when I sat in expectation,
and listened to the quiet.

He brings the contents now to view.
No longer does she gleam,
yet there beneath patina tinged with tarnish
I smell music.

Clutching her now against his concave chest
he shuffles rhythmically across the room,
remembering, no doubt those evenings
spent upon the porch in twilight murmurings.

Once settled in between the cushions
of a tattered, dusty chair
he raises up the precious object to his lips and blows.
Diminished breath invades her inner being.

But I am overcome by remnants,
not of sound, but scent
that lingers still within the archives of my soul
in saxophonic exclamation.

A poem posted this week by Claudia (jaywalkingthemoon) set fire to a memory that I embellished quite a bit. Thank you for the sorely needed inspiration, Claudia. As a side note, I have read that the sense that most evokes memories is smell.

I am linking this to dVerse Open Link Night. I hope everyone enjoys a visit to the pub this week and I look forward to sampling your offerings.


30 thoughts on “Keeper of Memories

  1. woodrow says:

    “He brings the contents now to view.
    No longer does she gleam,
    yet there beneath patina tinged with tarnish
    I smell music”

    i use to feel this same sensation, every time i walked into a music store, i could close my eyes and think “i smell music”. it was a pleasure finding this poem… so glad i found it.


  2. What a beautifully made poem. Thank you for reading mine for this Rally already. You ask for constructive critique, so I read it a second time, but really, this poem is about as flawless as can be, as far as I can see.

    So full of suspense, well crafted. Reading about the case, wondering what was inside, I could not help but visualize a briefcase that belonged to my father, so the poem really almost made me smell that, which used to be within my sight and reach to touch when I was a child. So your poem was also quite powerfully evocative for me.

    I am so glad to have the opportunity to read you by virtue of the fact that you were so kind as to read and comment on my work.


  3. Very cool. “Diminished breath invades her inner being” – an amazing line! You do a great job creating and conjuring imagery!


  4. Nel says:

    Beautiful, just beautiful.


  5. Renee says:

    It only takes one item and seeing it takes us back years. Music is a memory maker.


  6. Morning says:

    very brilliant one.

    Glad to see you in the rally.
    have fun.



  7. timkeen40 says:

    A great poem of remembrance and the days of yesteryear. I good read for sure. Thanks.



  8. beckykilsby says:

    ‘hurls me back in time’ – very much enjoyed the freshness of your take on memory Victoria. The chance to experience the disturbance of the past… this poem vibrates.


  9. Music can do so many wonderful things to a soul … to leave an unforgettable scent for life. It’s a blessing to be charm by it … I’m charmed by your words here!


  10. Jamie Dedes says:

    “I smell the music.” How wonderful! Yet another very fine poem from you, Victoria.

    Enjoying the book. Website is bueatiful. Congratulations. I’ll give you a quote for that in case you’d like another to post. No offense taken if not. I’ll also post a review on Amazon and B & N.

    Back to you on everything, but probably not until next week.

    Wonderful to see your sucess …

    Kudos! and Hugs!


  11. Sheila Moore says:

    its funny that you mentioned how the sense of smell evokes the most memories because the line “I smell the music” was the one that really jumped out at me. enjoyed this a lot.


  12. tigerbrite says:

    A wonderful walk down memory lane. Isn’t it great when someone else’s write inspires us so.


  13. itspak1 says:

    Yeah quite moving it. Nice poem.


  14. ayala says:

    Moving and beautiful write. Excellent!


  15. Steve King says:


    How true. The hint of a scent can be a key to old worlds locked away. What an evocative piece… It’s wonderful to discover old treasures and find that so much more than the material substance comes to light. I enjoyed this very much.


  16. df barker says:

    This is very moving and deep. The earlier memories are often the most poignant and this is no exception. Very thoughtfully written, I feel, and well structured and very evocative. V. impressive stuff.


  17. I find this poem a little nerve-wracking in a really interesting way! I think because in stanza 1, even though the poem is primarily about the man’s relationship to the instrument, there’s the new knowledge of a now-mature narrator that the finish on the case is faux…making the man maybe less wealthy, or many unreliable, himself perhaps false. This plus the painful intensity of “rape”, “hurl” and flashes forward made me think that there was some unhappy revelation lurking, contrasting with the tenderness with which the man plays.


  18. Loved this, Victoria – my former husband is a sax man, and that patina you mentioned is priceless; it gives the horn a “velveteen” feel. When played with love, a sax will last the years just fine.

    It’s also true about scent and memory… strong connection! This was truly a great write. Thank you so much! Amy


  19. jenneandrews says:

    A moving poem, Victoria– I very much like the empathies at work in it– xxxj


  20. ManicDdaily says:

    Ah, Proust! (Madeleine mouthpiece!) This is a lovely lovely piece–from saxaphonic exclamation to diminished breath. Concave chest, the description of the case. Very very lovely. K.


  21. Luke Prater says:

    “saxophonic exclamation”

    I think that’s all I need to say, really.


  22. brian miller says:

    you used all the senses well in this victoria…the smells the sounds, the visuals…this is a great piece…i thoroughly enjoy


  23. Oh how I LOVE embellished memories! 🙂 and this one is just beautiful, reminding me of my grandmas hands, thank you for that sweet memory. I love your work and this is now one of my faves, Victoria. ♥



  24. vivinfrance says:

    , This is a lovingly dusted-off memory presented to us gift-wrapped in poetry. Bravo. I agree that scents are tremendous memory-joggers, and music is not far behind in that race.


  25. Yes, I think it’s true about smell. I like the images it sparks here – haunting to your readers too!


  26. claudia says: can be smelled.. love the piece…and god knows…i have practiced already hours on my sax today…but reading this makes me to go back and play a bit more…ahhh yes..the smell… love it


  27. Heaven says:

    How the sights and sounds can bring us back in time…Lovely journey full of details..Enjoyed this ~


  28. Harish says:

    beautifully illustrated, a story in small stages, bit by bit, memories do find a place to stay.


  29. Tino says:

    A memory fusion of sound and smell, how wonderful is that?

    What a great read, the way you describe the situation and the surroundings almost carried me there. I guess I do carry some bias as you know I adore music 😉


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