They say it is an
Impulse – a mad, wild,
Raving impulse – the
Places we have been.

The trails we took,
Never looking back to…

The lone people we met on
Waysides, all drenched
From un-
Expected rains. The
Sad stories told
In quaint hotel rooms in
The jagged jungles of
North Cambodia. When

We walked through ruins
Older than time… before touch,
Before pens, before
The scissors we hold to cut
Images from gray,
Pop-up books. Yes,

Sitting with coffee.
Rowing down rivers with
The huff huff of
Rugged women that man
Chipped, hollow oars.


Never coming back… gone
In moments when you
Take a bend by broken
Columns and want to weep
By the piled up skulls of
Long forgotten people.

Worn, out.

13 thoughts on “Souvenirs

  1. Mary January 21, 2016 / 10:25 pm

    Ah, the trails we took – never looking back…..we all have those trails & sad stories we hear along the way. So much to digest as we sit over coffee. And sometime when we stop for a moment we think about those long forgotten people & wonder! Anyway those are the things I thought about as I read your poem, Matthew!


  2. whimsygizmo January 21, 2016 / 10:34 pm

    This is a gorgeous meandering.
    This bit is my favorite:
    “The lone people we met on
    Waysides, all drenched
    From un-
    Expected rains”

    I often leave an “un” dangling in my own poems.
    And I, too, am often drenched in it. 🙂


  3. January 21, 2016 / 10:39 pm

    Matthew, what an excellent reminder of past and moving on the the present and beyond.
    We ponder and think about what life has for us now. Gosh! this poem is greatly written. 🙂


  4. Grace January 21, 2016 / 11:28 pm

    I would love to take that river boat through the ruins and jungle of Cambodia ~ But of course, seeing all those skulls by long forgotten people would horrify me ~

    Thanks for joining us Matthew ~


  5. thotpurge January 22, 2016 / 1:54 am

    Thank you! Reminds me of Cambodia – the killing fields and the boat down the river!!


  6. Bodhirose January 22, 2016 / 2:37 am

    Some memories of our travels are too painful to return to. You captured the somber tone of the trails through Cambodia very well.


  7. kanzensakura January 22, 2016 / 2:59 am

    Take a bend by broken
    Columns and want to weep
    By the piled up skulls of
    Long forgotten people.
    Being well acquainted with some survivors of the Khmer Rouge, these lines touched me so deeply. The lone people, the women rowers…so much beauty here and written with the heart of one who looked deeply into those hearts. A solemn and evocative poem.


  8. 5h2o January 22, 2016 / 3:27 am

    Your second to the last stanza is stunning. Very nice poem.


  9. MarinaSofia January 22, 2016 / 8:13 am

    Not just memories but also a meditation on the traveller and imperialism – if I’m not reading too much into it… Also the history of the country you are travelling in. An elegy of sorts, and those final two verses are really powerful, especially that comma in the final line. Makes you pause and really become aware of things.


  10. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) January 22, 2016 / 8:38 am

    Rivers are like veins.. the magic of capturing memories and being there as part of history… i just saw “African Queen” again.. (it’s actually on youtube… ) and if I ever had to go down a river that way I would feel like that… Also Aguirre the wrath of god would pop up… and mingle that with the skulls and temples… so many great rich places…


  11. katiemiafrederick January 23, 2016 / 6:07 am

    Struggle primitive..
    ancestor strong..
    sHell now..


  12. Victoria C. Slotto January 23, 2016 / 8:51 pm

    This poem made me think back on all the places I’ve been and how each etched its influence on me–some more than others. Quite thought-provoking.


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