Echoes of the Past

By Gery de Pierpont

Heritage and literature dialogue: Sarah Strange

There are some texts which describe atmospheres and historical settings so realistically that they can almost bring old stones back to life. When words, musical cadences and poetry bring scenes alive, describing personalities, passionate encounters and tragedies, we are inescapably drawn back in time. Particularly if these are read in the actual settings they describe …

The “Heritage and Literature dialogues” posts will give you a little flavour of this timeless alchemy, a sample of imaginary delights to be discovered when you stay in history, after a quick trip to your local bookshop!


The reception room at the Royal Crescent Museum in Bath is not the residence described below, but it captures much of the same atmosphere © Roger Wollstadt


Poems can bring us back to the past…

Sarah StrangeSarah Strange has been writing poems since she was seven years old. She is also a professional translator and a very appreciated native British tourist guide in Belgium. Her blog, ‘Poet in the Woods‘, attracts more and more poetry lovers, month after month. “A Turn in the Road”, is her latest book.

Some of her works are beautifully loaded with history. “Echoes of the Past” has been written in 1965 in Edinburgh.


Here at least has time stood still …

You find it in a shy seclusion
Far away from prying eyes
Its romantic past is sure to please you
For it has a charming guise.

Admire the ceiling far above you
Completely flawless in design
This is perfection at its peak
No modern style is half so fine.

Behold it!  Such a room of secrets
What stories could the mirror tell?
Alas! What passed within its walls
Has long since been forgotten well.

The red décor and grand chaise longue
The chandelier in shimmering glass
The polished chairs both firm and strong
By master craftsmen, made to last.

For all around these lustrous walls
See the gay attractive frieze
How many hands have written at this desk
Or rippled o’er these ivory piano keys?

Dark recesses hide huge china plates
Sad memories of a bygone age
Though not a speck of dust is seen
Time has turned another page.

Step back and gaze on all this beauty
Breathe of it and take your fill
For while the outside world is changing
Here at least has time stood still.

Sarah Strange (1965)
Poet in the Woods

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Historical authenticity
Ambiance and settings
Quality of welcome
Degree of comfort