Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Lying Camera

we were asked to use the words in blue


They say the camera cannot lie, but I know that it can.
I've seen it fabricate whole lives since my long career began.
I've known them come to my studio, immortality in mind,
Wanting, when they leave this life, to leave a photograph behind.
They trust me to make a picture of a happy family,
Something that their descendants can pin to the family tree.
I've seen a child look sullen and terrified as well,
And the cause for its unhappiness has not been hard to tell.
Father is a brutal man (see that bruise on Mother's cheek).
She is rather cowed and shy; I hardly hear her speak.
I set up my equipment; the child's on mother's knees;
I tell them all they must be still; everyone must freeze.
The child is moving slightly; the Father's looks could kill;
'God Almighty. Gertrude! Can't you keep the little brat still!'
'I'm doing my very best, Arthur!' That's Mother, looking  strained.
She tries a timid little smile, but it looks rather feigned.
I dive beneath my 'curtain' and then I count to ten.
I think the child was moving so I do it all again.
They leave the studio, satisfied, that after all the strife
I have given them a portrait of a Happy Family life!


'Get rid of that tree, Mum!'
That was my son speaking.
True the tree is past it's best,
Straggly and creaking.
Although the leaves so far above
Cast a lovely shade
It's not a thing of beauty
In some lovely  sylvan glade!
'I love that tree against the fence'
That was Pam, my friend.
'I love the way the branches
Seem to gently curve and bend.
I love the Oriental look
Against the new bamboo.
If you should chop it down I know
That you would spoil the view!'
This is my 'new' garden,
Not wild as it once was,
But I find I like the new look,
And, partly, that's because
I have a straggly, past-it tree
That, who knows why, appeals to me.


Margaret Gosden said...

I like it, too. It softens the straightness of the bamboo
and if it gives shade, why not. Looks ti be a be a nice
work free sort of yard, now it is done!

Sheilagh Lee said...

both poems so true but I think I like the second one best sometimes the past it tree is best.

Thom Gabrukiewicz said...

Both are great pieces.

MaryA said...

The first piece is so sad, but I know it is often true. The second piece reminds me that we are all a bit like the bamboo. Eventually we age and no longer display the physical beauty we once did. That doesn't mean we should go....