Monday, April 08, 2013

There's a photograph




There's a photograph taken of me
when I was still a youngish man - thirty -
still a new father, and I'm standing in the
garden of our rented ramshackle house -
with floors that slanted away from each other
and a hall that ran down to the kitchen,
and an outside toilet where you sat and saw the stars -
and I'm dressed, at my wife's behest,
in the uniform supplied by the Post Office
(from some depot in Waikikamukau
or possibly Timbuktu):
a jacket too short
and shorts too long,
bloomers extending down to the knees,
and my hair, in the fashion of the day,
(just before men reverted to short and neat)
is down to my shoulders - I'm all hair -
with a beard that covers much of my face
and glasses that cover my eyes,
and I'm grinning at the camera and
the absurdity of the clothes
which my wife would shortly after alter
to a non-schoolboy-of-the-forties look.

The sun shines behind me on the potato patch
I'd dug from hardened soil with my own strength,
and my toddler daughter isn't in the picture,
but may have been just about to walk into it,
chanting Dadda, Dadda, just as my granddaughter
now imperiously cries on entry into the two-storey house
where we brought up her mother, and two each of
aunts and uncles: Granddug!

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