on considering a photo of an old friend

on considering a photo of an old friend
your picture in my album is you
but the image is not you
not the you I knew so well
the smiling esprit sardonique
whose rapier thrusts and ripostes
flew above the heads of dullest ears
who laughed without knowing
smiled without understanding
saw you without seeing.
and thought they knew you
some wanted to own you
they dared not say so.
the photo  – a half-smiling you
or are you frowning
lips pressed, hair blowing
one eye covered, one eye showing,
I wonder what it saw
beyond the fields,
beyond the glowering sky
beyond, into, maybe, eternity
that single penetrating eye
still pierces to my soul
did the cameraman turn
ashamed as they perceived
their nakedness writ in your eyes
was it love they saw there
or hate
joy or anger
did you sit together
and take out tobacco
to make a cigarette to share
or open beers
did you make promises
vows soon broken
a thousand questions
lie behind this battered
treasured picture
a thousand riddles
remain unsolved
where are you now ?

© coolhermit 2020
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critique and comments welcome.
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3 months ago

Hello again… it’s nostalgic’ish again. D’you know how much this echos my own muse at the moment. Like it. 🙂

2 months ago

Nice poem, Rick. But I’m not sure about this line:

“flew above the heads of dullest ears”…

Why are the ears dull and not the heads? Why not just “flew above the dullest heads”?

“the heads of ears” suggests that ears have heads. But they don’t. Heads have ears. See what I mean?


How about “flew above heads with the dullest ears” maybe? Just a wee suggestionlet.


2 months ago
Reply to  coolhermit

Right, I get you.

I just think it gets confusing to have both heads and ears in that same image. Are you sure you need both?

“flew past the dullest ears”?
“bounced off the dullest ears”?……

You mean “flew in one dull ear and out the other”, but that of course is a cliche. And one must avoid cliches like the plague (lol)!

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