Monday, 20 January 2020

Interlude 1—Old Pictures


Old Pictures

I am surrounded by the dead.
In sepia formality they hang 
from the scaffold of the picture rail:
a great uncle killed at Loos
proud in his kilt 
before the steamer's sad farewell;
his brother who survived 
with a whole body 
and forty years of a broken mind;
my grandmother 
stern 
Victorian
alone
in mourning black forever;
my parents' wedding—
the groom alive with hope, 
proud before an empire's collapse—
my mother at eighteen 
between giggling sisters,
beautifully shy before the certainty of years.

All are gone, 
only the bride's magnificent veil 
lies, remembering 
in an attic suitcase.

Yet still they live
within the walls of my imperfect memory,
and watch with timeless eyes
my life's amorphous dream unfold. 

Who will I look down upon
when I am clay and dust
and stoic, stand and stare
from far behind some dusty pane?

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