Poem: Mapping the past


Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley.  No, not really: not Manderley.  Pemberley perhaps?  No, these big stately looking houses, imagined and real are open to the public.  The house I went to isn’t open to everyone.  I actually went to my Nanna’s old house in Liverpool.  I didn’t even have to leave my chair to do it.  I used a Google Street View Map tool to get there – it took me seconds.  That house is now a hostel.  I walked down the road I no longer recognise.  The garden which seemed so big has shrunk.  I wish I could enter the door and go inside and find my Nanna – but I know that I’m just being silly.

‘Pemberley’ really Lime Park

That house has haunted me down the years.  The walls have seen and heard many a family drama.  It was a large family –  seven sons and one daughter.  Now all gone, including my father.  Only the house remains, the walls saturated in our history.  I see my Nanna  sometimes in my mind, always busy – but she was never too busy to have time for me.  the Google Street view is my route back in time: my ball of string –  a time machine.  What a wonderful tool it is.  This poem was inspired by that trip:_

The footsteps trek backwards in brick, orange red

Their dust though forever remains

My past caught like jewels, in times silvery thread

It  whispers  forgotten refrains.


The welcoming door, now black and forbidden,

Its threshold now shoos me away

Won’t let me go where my memories lie hidden

Lit brightly, one long ago day.


I know what’s beneath all those layers of paint,

The black and white tiles in the hall

Childs fingerprints linger so small and so faint

On stairs that I still can recall.


The garden seems smaller, the roses long gone,

The curtains are closed on my past,

A shadowy place where the sun always shone

Where memories remain and hold fast.


They speak in a voice only I understand.

They sing and they call me by name

I still see them smile as they take up my hand

Unchanged and remaining the same.

©L. M. Roberts 2010

 Explore the world at street level with the Google Street View  here

6 thoughts on “Poem: Mapping the past

  1. It is amazing what Google can do! Had to say that. lol The poem is wonderful. Enjoyed the aspect of childhood perception in this piece—how what seemed so big as a kid may not seem that way in adulthood. Always enjoy reading your poetry 🙂

  2. Thanks Adam, I’m flattered that you like it 🙂 That Google Street view is like a little time machine isn’t it – I hope that your part of the country was covered. I see the van’s all the time taking photo’s, it’s an neverending task.
    By the way, I came a bit unstuck with my slide show on echostains 🙂 I had to whittle it down (I had 51 images!) and it kept making my site crash :):) I will still use the slide show faculty – but not put as many on. lesson learned. More poetry coming soon. Your comments are always valid and encouraging. it’s very much appreciated! 🙂

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