Posted by: David Harley | April 5, 2013

Happy Snaps

Here we all are,
Posing for the scrapbook:
“Family party at Auntie Maureen’s, 1943”.
Not there? ‘Course I am:
That’s your gran, and that’s me,
That bulge under the begonias
On her pinny.

And here we are at the zoo –
“Mummy and Daddy and me in my push-chair”
And me looking depressed
In spite of the chimps’ tea party.
Still, your Gran always said
What a great time we had
What with your Grandad
Newly liberated from his uniform
All but his haircut:
I wonder who took the picture?

That’s me and cousin Veronica holding hands:
I wanted to marry her
But she preferred the boy next door
Who was older
And got more pocket money.

There we are with Uncle Ralph’s family
At the seaside – that’s right, Morecambe.
We stopped talking to them in 1958:
Something to do with your Great-Grandad’s will.

I wonder if today’s hi-tech colour prints
Will look as quaint
As these Box Brownie black and White En-prints
When you’re showing them
To your nephews and nieces?

I wonder if they’ll think of you
As being as old and odd as you think me,
Behind that grave, inscrutable
10-year-old politeness?

Do you ever think that one day
Everything you are and know and remember
Will be finally distilled
To fading engrams
On chemical paper?

Alarmingly, digital photography barely existed when I wrote this, and my semi-automatic SLR really was pretty hi-tech. My mother still has her Box Brownie, and every so often I have to break it to her gently that there are too many of them around for it to be quietly appreciating much in value.

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World
ESET Senior Research Fellow


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