My first camera was a Kodak Brownie
-strictly for use on trips to foreign lands.
With a twelve exposure film (quite fiddly to fit)
you had to choose your shots with care
not waste a thing, then wait
a good two weeks if you could bear
before collecting with trembling hands
the small square prints from Boots.
Photos? They`re ten a penny now
Shoot fifty in an hour, the norm a healthy
disregard for analogue. Just store them in the Cloud,
life`s one long pose. Bring on the selfie!
Give me a good old-fashioned family album
where the prints are held in place
with tiny clear corners and there`s
always that annoying empty space
where one has been removed.
Those simple saturated Kodachrome hues
speak of the past our vanished youth
No app to tweak the radiance
No photoshop to mask the truth.
To add colour to the eulogies we found
some good ones alright.
Here`s one of Mum with Kenneth and Bart
exploring in some fields outside the house
as kids did long before.
You can tell she`s in charge, (the smart
Senior Tutor to their curious schoolboys)
She cradles what looks like a mouse
as they look on in awe.
Three brothers silent upon a gorge in Southern France
Staring into the future through
the bleached noonday sun of Provence.
And (much later this) on a whim
in the back garden one summer dusk
Its Dad the patriarch, cool as a Mafia Don
His sons similarly cigared
affecting the same insouciance as him
Mere satellites around the central star.
Mu and Paka on that familiar stroll down
the driveway at le Bournet, walking
into the evening sun,
Putting the day to rights, talking.
Finally this one although I am too young to recall
I`ve painted us in monotone, we are but passing through
Colours stick to things that last in time
The road`s still there, that actual view:
Ladythorn Avenue, Marple. (1959).
Jonathan choked up at the funeral on seeing it on screen
which made me look at it again
What is it about the scene that lacerates?
Those impossibly bright blooms
belie the march of time, they can`t betoken pain.
Is it the poignancy of lost years, the sense of place,
Lost toys, lost cars, lost innocence, the out-of-date?
Or is it just the look on Mum`s young face
that pose Audrey Hepburnesque in its charms
Light of all our lives with a natural grace
Fixed forever lovely as she holds me in her arms.