I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

20 April 2010

Helen Marjorie Holmes

How soft the roses bloom,
climbing the trellised gateway
under which you pose
in your pale blue dress.
A water colourist
retouched the print —
the only way in those days —
delicately, in pastels.

Your face and bosom still
have a girlish roundness.
Your smile is shy. I wonder
if my father took the photo
and it’s him you’re smiling at.
I have an idea it was taken
at The Orchard House in Spreyton
soon after you were engaged.

I seem to remember that trellis.
I think my Nana grew roses
in the gardens of your home,
my Nana your mother, who died
when you and I were both
too young to lose her.
Later my gardener Dad
grew standard roses, all colours,
in the home where I grew up.

But back then in the picture, you
were just a young girl
who knew nothing
of the future that would come —
children, war, divorce....
Now there are very few left
who remember you at all, Mum,
and none but me, I think, to recall
even the picture, let alone the girl.

April PAD Challenge 19
Prompt: A poem about someone, their name as title.

(I chose her maiden name, the one she had at the time of the photo.)


  1. powerful closing couplet:
    >and none but me, I think, to recall
    even the picture, let alone the girl.

    so important to label photos and to keep geneologies and written stories so someone curious can one day collect it into herself.

  2. Yes, and I still have so much of that to do!