Sunday, March 13, 2011

Old Photos

 Griffith Park, 1928

Girl and Horse, 1928

by Margaret Atwood

You are younger than I am, you are
Someone I never knew,
you stand under a tree,
your face half-shadowed,
Holding the horse by its bridle.

Why do you smile? Can’t you
See the apple blossoms falling around
You, snow, sun, snow,
listen, the tree dries
and is being burnt, the wind

Is bending your body,
your face ripples like water
Where did you go?

But no, you stand there
the same,
you can’t hear me,

forty years ago you were caught by light
And fixed in that secret place
where we live, where we believe
nothing can change, grow older.

(On the other side
of the picture, the instant
is over, the shadow
of the tree has moved.

You wave,

then turn and ride
out of sight through the vanished
orchard, still smiling
as though you do not notice)

old photos,
escaping a tin box:

stories with wings

 butterflies, or white moths
fluttering at the glass
lighter than air, these memories
an open window


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