So much of our personal history is embodied in what we own, treasure or discard.
Even abandoned things have a habit of turning up again, often in the most unlikely of places.
This poem appeared long ago in The Alderney Journal, which was a popular local magazine in the Bailiwick.
I don't know whether The Alderney Journal still exists but my contributor's copy, from all those years ago, certainly does and it contains this poem, which also found its way into my second book of verse, Strange Journey.
At jumble sales and stalls of bric-a-brac,
these old things gather like tide-wrack
washed up out of a sea of years:
the shoehorn with the fox-head handle,
the candlestick without a candle,
the photograph of Brighton Pier,
those carved monkeys that can see or say or hear
no evil thing,
the ugly vase Aunt Lizzie sent us from Peking before the war,
the Coronation mugs and hairbrush sets
and bagatelle, where winner gets the highest score.
Like postcards, from a place called childhood,
that went astray
in some post-office pigeon-hole or tray,
they are delivered now, belatedly.
We turn them over in our ageing hands,
examining their surfaces,
weaving strands of antiquity
into some flawed pattern that we call the past.