January 01, 2006

The Sepia Poems

Jan 9th 2002

Sepia

You cleaned out your filing cabinet today
And found
Memories.
You showed me the snapshots.
Black and white photographs
Of you as a boy in India.
Spot Daddy in the rugby team photo
1970–71

And you again,
The car you drove,
The speedway.
A few old girlfriends
You met before Mum.

Pictures of Mum
In 70’s glasses
And uncontrollable hair
That you scrape back into a plait on work days
Now.

Captured in black and white
All those long years
Before I was even thought of.

It’s a strange feeling
Finding the people you have known longer than anyone
Are the people you know least of all.

August 13th 2003

Sepia II

You have to train your eye
To see past the overtones
Of “mummy” and “daddy”
Of “Responsible parent”.

Your mind starts adding in automatically
The wrinkles and damage of however many years.
It’s hard to phase out.
You keep seeing and recognising
Noting what’s the same, skimming what isn’t.

You have to notice the differences
And put aside your feelings.
Not “That’s my mother”, but
“That’s the girl who will someday be my mother.”
So much thinner…

Then one photo stands out.
With this I don’t have to force my head around the idea
That this is not the 40something woman
But the 20something girl
Dressed up for a 60’s themed disco
And posing for the camera
In exactly the same way
As one day
Her daughter will too.

November 2005

Sepia III

I look down and see my mother’s legs
In part her contribution to my chromosomes
My height and hair and half my face.
My hands and feet: my fathers.

And they were once me.
Naïve, lovesick, cold and wearing stupid heels:
As stupid, lost and fallible as me.
The mud on her shoes from the Town Moor
Or Exhibition park, not Jepherson Gardens
The Lake on campus or a Leamington back garden.
They lost their way as many times as me.
You realise that, and you start to see
Adults as people too
And still feeling their way, uncertain.

If that is the case,
Why shouldn’t there be, someday,
Some far distant day,
A girl or boy
With my long legs
And half my face
Sitting on the top deck of a bus
Somewhere
Writing poems about photographs
And parents.


- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. will this thing let me comment now? yes.

    i really can't bring myself to repeat what i wrote before so, to sum up, i like these. they're simple but effective.

    01 Jan 2006, 21:03


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