Echoes of Footsteps

Echoes of Footsteps

Pounding the pavement, they call it,
that heavy, resigned, no-end-in-sight walking.
Or pacing, when it’s done indoors.

I fancy I’d rather walk a bush track
with soft earth, leaves and grasses underfoot,
and birds nearby shifting and rustling,

their chatty little calls oblivious of me
and my concerns…. But I’m not,
I’m walking repetitively away from you

as I have done for years, when memory
returns you: walking that day and all days
away from me – stiffly, as if you didn’t want to.

And it was a pavement you trod. You didn’t
look back (I know because I did). In my mind
when this resurfaces, I’m always walking

away in the opposite direction. And lucky me,
it was toward sunlight and freedom, and loves
enough to dull the anguish, a life to go on to

eventually, after the walking and walking
I did in those later months of shock and grief,
talking to you in my head, uselessly.

Decades later I asked my most psychic friend
if you’re with the angels. (Someone else told me
long ago, it's not true suicides go to Hell.)

She didn’t see you with the angels. She thought
you were evil. ‘He didn’t love you!’ she said,
scornfully. It may be true. Trouble is, I loved you.

But – 'No,' she said, 'You loved the lie.'
I don't know any more ... remembering
(forever) your laugh, your soft eyes.

Linking to Weekly Scribblings #26: Pavement at Poets and Storytellers United


  1. Oh my aching heart this is poignant! It's difficult when memories of the past resurface and we are left to ponder from all angles and sides. I love the title, as it portrays beautifully the image of one walking away - I'd like to believe that we gave it our all, despite the hurt, the shock and grief (it's never easy to cope with) let us hold on to the good and dispel the bad. Thank you so much for writing to the prompt, Rosemary 💘

    1. I think you are right, Sanaa. Thanks for the wise words. There comes a time to leave the pain and unanswered questions in the past.

  2. I felt your echoes of footsteps, Rosemary, the way they change from the resigned pavement ones to the stroll along a bush track. The alliteration in ‘Pounding the pavement’ is effective, as are the sounds evoked in ‘shifting and rustling’. The memory of a specific day is clear and difficult, but the determination and hope shine through with the sunlight and freedom.

  3. Failed relationships often ruin our lives for some time. Perhaps it is better to admit it hurts and brings no togetherness anymore so we don't waste time being unhappy.

  4. Love is bitter and love is sweet too ,we never know which we bit we will get.

  5. A betrayal of love cuts so deeply and leaves scars that linger long. I liked your comparison of pavement and bush track, knowing full well it's a hard-won battle to leave the pavement and arrive at the bush track where one can savor life again. A beautiful write, Rosemary.

  6. Oh my! As I read your poem I could feel the chills developing throughout my body. Immensely satisfying, though completely overwhelmingly sad.

  7. I am glad you found your happiness on your own path, but sad that his led to an abrupt end. It would have been easier had all your feelings for him ended the day he decided to go his own way. but love is rarely sensible like that.

  8. Ah! Life with its kisses and bruises. I think that love is always worth the pain- because it is the greatest thing there is. :)

  9. This is so sad. The loss, the imaginings, the unanswered questions and longing for closure

    Happy Wednesday


  10. This hurts to read, Rosemary. A revealing pain of the loss of a love, even if it was a lie, is always a melancholy path. The "echoes of footsteps" feels like shadows of the past that one cannot truly stop hearing.
    And yes, I prefer the walk in the timber among the trees, birds and the wind of nature.
    May your continued steps be in peace.

  11. As the time passes things get fuzzy. Literally I liked your walk. it reminded me of our doctors both without collaborating told us, mine as he discharged me from his care, and Mrs.' at home with a message on the phone, to walk 30 minutes a day five times a week. We do this, sort of. My foot doctor said walking the golf course behind our house would be really good, but stay off the cement cart paths, they were too hard on my feet, to walk the grass, "with soft earth". Before that when I was running, I would try to find asphalt streets as opposed to cement.
    I liked to the "help" your friend tried to give you. Scary, wasn't she. It sort of reminded me of the ancient Job, with his friends hanging around and making him feel worse off than he really was, if that was possible.

    1. Ha ha, yes she didn't sugar-coat things – but on many occasions was proven right.

  12. This hits right in the heart. It is so tough when painful memories surface that make you question what was real and what wasn't. Broken heart memories are the worst.

    1. Ah well, hopefully it surfaced now in order to be laid to rest finally.

  13. foundation shaking, Rosemary ~

  14. This is a tough one. Not just because this kind of loss squeezes the heart, but also because of the reaction of the friend in the end. Whether the speaker loved a lie or not, that doesn't really matter... the love was real and so was the pain caused by such loss. And to say that he didn't love her. How did she know? Love isn't a simple things, neither is suicide. Sorry, if I'm rambling... I'm just a bit surprised by the friend's reaction. Then again, maybe the friend was never truly loved and never loved another faulty soul. And if that were the case, no one can blame her for not understanding. End of rambling.

    When it comes to the poem itself, I really like how the tone and mood of the words pretty much let us hear the speaker's pacing, the troubled beating of her heart while she dances with the memories.

    1. I'm really glad you find the poem to be working so well! As for the friend, it's true that her own experiences of love were few and disappointing. Perhaps she was angry on her own behalf as well as mine.

  15. 'pounding the pavement' and hearing it echo over and over. This tears at my heart,
    but I am glad you found light afterwards.


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