School photos, a ritual,

cherished likenesses of ones' self,

thumbnail prints placed on a shelf

or mantelpiece with pride;

matter of obligation for parents

a record of proud growth. 


Cameras with their elephant memories

blinked portentously,

nothing personal.


We were rounded up by disreputable fellows

with a taste for pin-ups,

stage-sets, black cloths,

revealing lights;

prints sent to dodgy magazines of the time:

Health and Efficiency,

Spic and Span,

Lilliput and their like.


After puberty came realisation,

a meeting of minds;

I bought a Kodak Retinette,

set up a darkroom in the bedroom,

moved on from the herding,

the framing with gilt. 





Profile image


Tue 2nd Jan 2018 20:22

Thanks for stopping by Hannah. My school photos were pre - colour and seem so retro now!


Profile image

Hannah Collins

Tue 2nd Jan 2018 16:40

I was drawn to this poem and it doesn't disappoint.
I like school photos, always a bit of a shock but as you say a record of proud growth to the parents.


Profile image


Fri 29th Dec 2017 21:57

Thanks David. I can't pretend you havn't understood me correctly. Sadness leaches out whenever I return to a dream of potential unfulfilled. I'm glad it resonated.


Profile image

Wolfgar Miere

Fri 29th Dec 2017 10:05

Hello Ray,

I have read this several times now, it seems quite melancholy to me.

Your photography appears precious to you and is obviously something you have treasured over the years, yet still this somehow feels tainted by a shadow of sadness.

For me that is what makes it a good poem, something unreachable under the surface.


Profile image


Fri 29th Dec 2017 09:55

Sounds risky Col. Happy new year mate.

Thanks for stopping by Des.


<Deleted User> (13762)

Thu 28th Dec 2017 08:23

I have a local cleaning company called Pam's Spic and Span Homes. One day when I'm really bored I'm gonna give Pam a call and maybe she can teach me some health and efficiency too. I'll let you know how I get on 😉

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message