William De Witt Snodgrass

(January 5, 1926 – January 13, 2009 / Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania)

Mementos, 1 - Poem by William De Witt Snodgrass

Sorting out letters and piles of my old
Canceled checks, old clippings, and yellow note cards
That meant something once, I happened to find
Your picture. That picture. I stopped there cold,
Like a man raking piles of dead leaves in his yard
Who has turned up a severed hand.

Still, that first second, I was glad: you stand
Just as you stood—shy, delicate, slender,
In that long gown of green lace netting and daisies
That you wore to our first dance. The sight of you stunned
Us all. Well, our needs were different, then,
And our ideals came easy.

Then through the war and those two long years
Overseas, the Japanese dead in their shacks
Among dishes, dolls, and lost shoes; I carried
This glimpse of you, there, to choke down my fear,
Prove it had been, that it might come back.
That was before we got married.

—Before we drained out one another’s force
With lies, self-denial, unspoken regret
And the sick eyes that blame; before the divorce
And the treachery. Say it: before we met. Still,
I put back your picture. Someday, in due course,
I will find that it’s still there.

Comments about Mementos, 1 by William De Witt Snodgrass

  • (1/24/2018 4:22:00 PM)

    One of the bests poems this is loved by many. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Susan Williams (1/12/2017 3:07:00 PM)

    Superb and harrowing poem- - every word the perfect choice, every image burned into the reader's mind. Favorite Poem List. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (1/12/2017 12:16:00 PM)

    Excellent poem
    Very well written poem. Thanks for sharing it. (Report) Reply

  • (1/12/2017 10:22:00 AM)

    A trip down the memory lane and revisiting moments of joy, anguish etc. (Report) Reply

  • Jayatissa K. Liyanage (1/12/2017 9:22:00 AM)

    Whatever happened subsequently, how could one forget the events and incidents they were connected with while they were in love, long past though. Let the mementos speak. Please find them. Thanks for sharing the hearty poem. (Report) Reply

  • Seamus O Brian (1/12/2017 8:16:00 AM)

    The author utilizes the small details of everyday living to form the viscerally striking collage of the deepest experiences of life- love, pain, loss, regret. It is the casual, easy manner of speech and the use of these simple details which he expertly contrasts with the vast depth of the human experience that produce the arresting power of this piece. Marvelously executed. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (1/12/2017 5:33:00 AM)

    tom allport
    a very powerful poem about remembering real events. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (1/12/2017 5:29:00 AM)

    tom allport
    our lives are made of mixed memories, this is a very powerful poem remembering some? (Report) Reply

  • Lantz Pierre (1/12/2017 4:48:00 AM)

    The waves of horror and revulsion, of, oh I don't want to say sentimental nostalgia, something deeper, more meaningful than that. The tenderness before the relationship is overturned in a deluge of bitter memories. The memories, the memories before those memories, and the memories waiting still somewhere down the road. The memories are who we are as humans. To lose them is to lose ourselves. This poem is a brief concert of memories and emotions, with key lilting phrases that build and support, submerge and change. A barb driven deep, a scar that one touches shuddering with a fond rememberance of who we are. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (1/12/2017 12:49:00 AM)

    One another's force! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (1/12/2017 12:36:00 AM)

    Well-written poem+++++++++++++ Thanks for sharing++++++++++ (Report) Reply

Read all 11 comments »

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Poem Edited: Tuesday, January 3, 2012

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