Small Voice Calling > The Echo > Traces

“I’ve no wish to relive the past – it would only make me blue.”


I thought I saw her tonight.
We passed in the street,
her once-blonde hair shining like bronze
in the dim lamp-light;
I saw those square-framed glasses,
hall-mark of her wondrous beauty:
the tight-knit lips, pursed slightly,
giving distinction to her small nose;
and imagined the shapely ears beneath her flowing hair.

But then she had passed.
‘Twas but a fleeting moment we were met –
fast, though slow enough yet
to see her clearly. How can I forget
that profile which last
year so engrossed me?

Thoughts, they drowned my mind:
“Shall I stop to look behind –
is it really she?
(O glorious memory!
Oh! Thankful heart!
O Love! Why kept thou us apart?)”
I turned and looked; from the bus-stop
she glanced my way.
But two hundred yards on an ill-lit road
seems farther than it does by day –

so I stared in vain;
my Lost Domain
Yet, as Alain-Fournier
let Meaulnes reclaim a missed happiness,
so, please Fate,
shall I,

Ain’t it funny how the heart
Just when you thought it had all gone
It only takes a stone
To start an avalanche
And the heart knows how to respond

From ‘Traces’ by Ralph McTell
Full lyrics in ‘Time’s Poems’, p 184



Not so much an old flame,
More a burnt match.


Where love’s fond kisses           
I must confess
Left nought to be desired
Their prolonged absence
Without redress
Is not by me admired