Shadows of Yesterday

A few weeks ago, my mother shared an essay with us. Today, she is bringing us that essay’s counterpart, a poem entitled Shadows of Yesterday. This has long been one of my favorite poems, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. The following is a brief introduction from my mother, Renitia Ruff.

About Shadows of Yesterday

For almost 15 years my husband had pastored a church in Charleston county, South Carolina. In his 14th year he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and over the coming months he had become disabled and could no longer fulfill his duties of pastoring and retired from the ministry.  

In the Fall of 2001, we returned to the home we had built 38 years before. We had left that place with our two little girls to enter the ministry.

Our home was just across the road from where my sister and I grew up. Our two children were grown, married with families of their own, living quite a distance away. I was sole caregiver for my beloved—whose condition worsened day by day, until the Lord called him home in December 2011. While he was bedridden, I spent many hours reliving the past, just across the road! Writing poems and stories concerning youthful days gone by…shadows of yesterday.

Shadows of Yesterday

Where went yesterday? 
Old familiar faces, 
quickened paces, 
different places. 
Time has stolen them away. 

Hearts so young and gay— 
Gone! Forever gone are they—
silently they lay. 
Just shadows in my mind! 

Through corridors of my mind 
I visit and I roam 
those old familiar places
bringing memories of home! 

Beholding those dear faces,
How my heart just races,
longing for the touch 
of those who meant so much! 
Precious, those shadows in my mind 

The old wooden rocker still I see 
there I knelt praying at Mother’s knee,
where God’s precious word was read to me 
and sister dear—just us three!  

Listening to my daddy call 
“Water boy! Now don’t you fall!”
Loved my daddy, yes, I did. 
He was special to this kid, 
Oh yes! Sacred shadows of memory. 

The heart aches sore for yesterday 
when youth in all its innocency
was beautiful and full of glee. 
Friends and neighbors, don’t you see, 
were not just friends, but family. 

Ah, sweet memories, I can see,
Though vague they seem to be, 
yet so very real to me. 
Those shadows in my mind

Corn patches and cotton fields,
buttercups and daffodils— 
Cows in the pasture, pigs in the pen, 
crowing roosters and cackling hens  

Shucking corn and picking peas,
rolling tires and climbing trees. 
Running barefoot in the breeze,
grass up to the knees. 

Thru the woods and to the creek 
wading in the water deep.
Crawfish and katydids, 
whitewash holes and muddy kids. 
Fleeting shadows in the mind.

Sweeping yards with the new brush brooms, 
playhouses with imaginary rooms. 
Lilac gardens and flowerbeds,
Sweet perfume from roses red. 

Picking berries and mopping floors 
cleaning windows—scrubbing doors,
white washing boards and fireplaces. 
Busy days with quicken paces, 
Mystic shadows of memory! 

Yesterday, so far away –
Veiled by time through clouds of gray.
Close, close memories door, 
for it can be again no more! 

The haunting fragrance of times gone by, 
Grieves my soul to make me I sigh:
How sad—youth will never know
The times and things that moved us so.
Sacred! Those hallowed shadows—in my mind.
Yesterday! So far away…

If you’d like to check out read my mother’s previous post, you can find it here. Be sure to comment below, and if you’ve enjoyed this week’s post, and share it on social media using the share icons below. I’d also like to invite you to join our mailing list (the signup form is below as well). We give away quarterly prizes (we’ll soon be announcing our prize for this quarter’s drawing), and as a subscriber you have access to our monthly book giveaway. We just had our drawing for June’s book of the month, and we’ll be announcing the winner in our mailing list in the coming days. Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful week!

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