Journey South

Joshua ww


I took the photograph above in North West London in 1996 with a non-digital camera . Our deaf rescue cat Joshua was sitting on the window sill and the photograph ended up as a double exposure when the film got stuck.

We moved north to Cumbria in 2002 before heading further north to the Scottish Highlands in 2010. I wrote the poem below during a trip down south, when I was back in a familiar corner of London to attend a seminar.


Back in NW3

The cold grips my lungs and my heart skips a beat
when I feel the soft dent of old footsteps
my eyes catch a translucent reflection
of my younger self twenty-four years ago.

This much younger me walks by from right to left
her vibrancy awakens and pulls me
out of the station into Finchley Road
reuniting me with a forgotten friend.

Small sparkling lights lift the veil of illusion
between then and now as if they are one
when she turns right to where I used to live
and I turn left to where I am staying now.

© Xenia Tran

(first published in Lapidus Quarterly, Winter 2007, Vol. 2 Issue 3)


Daily Prompt: South

dVerse Poetics: It’s All In The Timing


Author: whippetwisdom

The stories, poems and photographs on this blog are the original creative work of Xenia Tran. Inspired by life in the Scottish Highlands and in awe of nature she gives voice to the wisdom of her two adopted whippets Eivor and Pearl.

32 thoughts on “Journey South”

  1. Well, this is wonderful! So glad you posted it for this prompt….but first I must say….I sat here pondering the photo, trying to figure it out until I finally gave up and went on to read the explanation. Those double exposures can really produce some eerie photos!!!!
    Love the poem. I’m reminded of how I felt when we returned to our old college campus a few years ago….not for a reunion or homecoming, just to walk around and see it again. Of course, buildings had changed, some new ones now named after professors we had who have since died. But the old bell tower was still there atop the hill. Legend is that if you have your first kiss as a coed under it, that will be the person you marry. It proved true with us! As we walked some of the familiar sidewalks, I kept expecting to see old friends pop out of doors or come round the corner, as they looked some 40+ years ago! Funny how the mind flips back to the way it was….I must say, it was a little harder to climb the grassy hill to the bell tower to reenact that kiss~
    The ending of this poem is perfect! 🙂 Really glad you posted it here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story Lillian and how wonderful you were able to reenact the kiss there 40+ years later! :o) It is funny how we flip back and forth, especially when we are expecting to see friends appear as if time had stood still for them :o)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s interesting how a sight or smell can take us back to a time long forgotten, even in a moment. That’s what it reminded me of. An old song, a familiar fragrance, a picture of long past can take us to a far flung place. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A very interesting photo, wow! I like the illusion of the past, with the present, as if we are two different people moving in the same sphere. Thanks for sharing and wishing you a good week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Grace, the photograph felt like a true gift after the film got stuck ☺ I was a very different person when I first came to London, running away from what I feared instead of walking towards what I love and this moment showed me the choices that are always available to us. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week 💖


  4. Xenia I love this and can so relate to it, particularly the lines:
    ‘when I feel the soft dent of old footsteps
    my eyes catch a translucent reflection
    of my younger self twenty-four years ago’
    ‘when she turns right to where I used to live
    and I turn left to where I am staying now.’

    And Joshua looks like an absolute sweetheart!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words Kim, I have these moments especially when I return to London ☺ Joshua was an absolute angel and we had so many happy years with him 😼 We are having another mild day here today and I hope the weather is kind in Norfolk too! Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful rest of the day 💖 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Bryan, it can be a very vivid experience at times!☺ The photograph with the double exposure wanted to sit beside this poem for some time! Thank you for stopping by and have a blessed rest of the week ☺


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Victoria ☺ Joshua’s other senses appeared heightened and he did everything our other cats could do. They were aware of his non-hearing and watched over him when they went outside. Your Jack Russell is blessed to have such a loving and understanding home with you. Much love to you all 💖 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. sMiLes my FriEnd..
    perHaps the only
    thing as special
    As A LoVinG
    is an
    Act of
    iN all wayS Now
    oF DancE and SonG
    thaT coMes to bE iN
    noW iN FloWiN ZoNe
    tHeir is noTiMe DreAMs
    noW LuciD FruiTioN guIDe as SAMe..
    As Mark Twain said.. do it while you do it.
    in anoThEr

    Liked by 1 person

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