The Persistence of Memory

“Each heartbreak / and loss / left a scar— / rough-edged, / unforgettable.”

A selection of poetry and prose exploring memory and loss. Memories can shape who we are and who we become. They can affect how we see the world around us. This short collection looks at a lifetime of memory and loss yet always searches for a way to move forward.

~The H Word~          

About The Persistence of Memory

This collection was written over the past four years while I have been doing a creative writing degree. As part of our final creative project, we were asked to put together a portfolio of work. Some of these poems have been in the making for years, others were more recent, so it felt natural to explore the theme of memory. I understand the therapeutic benefits to be found from revisiting trauma through creative writing and finding a way to put it back in the past where it belongs and move forward. I hope you enjoy reading the pieces I have selected for this project.

~The H Word~


Poetry from The Persistence of Memory

Soon, These Too Will Be Gone

I wish I’d listened when they told me memories fade, even the good ones. When young it seems impossible you could ever forget things like how my gran’s skin felt, feather-soft, to touch seemed like nothing at all. Nivea-scented, only beauty product she’d ever use. Or, my papa’s shaving brush on the bathroom shelf beside…

Forward Thinking

Nothing good ever comes from living in the past, spend too long looking back you’ll miss the best parts, worry about what’s up ahead you’ll overlook what’s important. Life happens in the moment. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m not saying I’ve achieved it but there’s a reason it’s called the present. That life you’re…

Oh Mother, I remember!

Now, looking back I finally see the past reflected on a new surface, no smudges of shame caused by society’s obsession with material possessions telling me all I lacked. I remember all I had. All that you gave, you never ran out. I thought you must have shares in the universe or secret stashes all…

Download Your Interactive Family Tree for Free: Click Here

Before continuing with your request we must inform you of potential dangers. This is an immersive experience. We are obligated to warn you that certain pathways may not be good for your health. See below for details: When exploring one’s family tree one must be prepared. Not every forest is filled with verdant foliage, pretty…

In the Name of the Father

Even now, raised voices, clatter of dishes in sink, car engine outside and I’m a child again. There are those who preach forgiveness, perhaps I even envy them but I never asked for violence. A child. Just a child. Always a child. Who can never forget, never fully trust, never truly remember what safety felt…

How Could You?

I tried to tell you, onceat least I think I didunless I confused the hollowsound of silence with my ownvoice. An honest mistake.The intention was there,or almost, perhaps a barelyformed oh! in my chest.It’s the thought that counts.Isn’t that what they say?Only my thought, this thoughtdoesn’t know how to count,or speak. What do they sayabout…

Holding On

She wanted to scream. Felt it form in her lungs, chest expanded ready to release. Pictured her mouth open, unhinged, sounding the one word she could not. Only                                                       …

Teen Spirit

We drank to fake confidence, enough to convince ourselves we were doing what we wanted. To expect more seemed conceited, delusions of grandeur, just who does she think she is? We believed everyone was having fun and if we did it long enough then we would too. If only we’d listened to those who tried…

Childhood Obsession

When I was young, I thought about death, often. I was a worrier, a stress-er, an oh no! what comes next-er? Of course now I recognise this was childhood anxiety which would follow me through life, unreservedly. But back then I truly believed I was dying. I’d pray to make it through the night, to…

Skin Remembers Everything

I recognise that girl standing alone in the playground, apart from others wanting to disappear or become so paper thin their insults and taunts will float right through leaving no mark, no shame, no hurt but they always hit their target. Each cruel word etched on her skin. She will do anything to stop them…

Disjointed Memories

I can still remember the wallpaper from the bathroom in our old house back when I was eight or nine. It was tropical fish, angels, I think; pretty to look at but annoying because whoever hung the paper did not pay attention; the edges didn’t match up leaving severed bodies and floating fish-heads. I can’t…


Prose from The Persistence of Memory

What Comes Next

‘You must look on the bright side. Focus on the positives.’ Moira, my grief counsellor says, uncrossing then crossing her legs. Forty quid an hour for belters like this. I could have bought a book for a fiver off Amazon that would use less clichés. Still, she wants to help. I’m just not sure if…

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