19 February 2013

See beyond the photo's borders

PROMPT: Choose a photo from your personal collection that you have a strong emotional reaction or attachment to. Write first about what's IN the picture, then about what's beyond its borders, that only you see and know, then move back to the photo for some new insight into its contents.

I used this prompt in the Jan. 19 meeting of my Saturday writing group. First, we read The Invention of Dragons by the late Sandford (Sandy) Lyne and noted how this wonderful writer and teacher of children did the very same thing. Click on the poem title so you can read it too and on the poet's name for more information about him.

The poem I wrote while my group was writing is posted below. The inspiration for it is the photo at right. I waited a month to post this because today is my mother's birthday. If she were alive, she'd be 86. I still miss you, mom, will always love you and know now how much you loved me.

What I especially like about Lyne's poem is that we don't have the actual photograph that inspired the poem, but we can still "see" it. Does my poem stand up to that scrutiny? Does yours?

Susan 2 mos.

Wilma, 29 years,
holds her baby girl up to the glass.

Wilma smiles broadly.
Susan squints and looks down.

The glare hurts her eyes.
It’s the first day of school for her

two big brothers. They wave
bye and board the bus but are

invisible from this angle.
The world outside is

reflected in the storm door
that stands between them.

Wilma and Susan have clouds
for hair, and a hill in the distance

furrows their brows. They have
a whole future together ahead of them

to ruin, to rise to, to remember, someday.
This daughter will disappoint her mother.

This mother will fail her daughter but
not in all ways. The end will

bring them together again. It’s all
right there—

reflected in the glass
that stood between them

a whole world.

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