The photo’s small and rather creased but there
We are, a family group in black and white.
A camera has the trick of freezing time.
We’re posed before a boat outside our house,
It is to be a sort of caravan
For holidays. It has a cabin newly built
Upon a hull that’s often sailed the Humber.
Each one of us is smiling in the sun.
The cabin’s shadow says it’s afternoon,
The trees’ and hedgerow’s leaves proclaim it spring.
The War is over now. My father’s home
On leave and looks relaxed. My mother’s pleased,
I remember how she wept and prayed for him
On D-Day when his coaster carried troops
And petrol to the beach at Normandy.
My grandad stands erect and rather stiff,
And grandma, too, sits very upright, posed,
For both were born in Queen Victoria’s reign.
Their daughter, Eileen, looks so young. I think
She misses wartime dances and romances.
And is that me, that boy with folded arms
And hair as fair as any Anglo-Saxon?
I cannot now recall what I was thinking then,
What it was like to be a boy of ten,
Now that my hair is grey and I’ve grown old
And all those people in that photograph
Are talking, laughing, drinking, full of life
Within my head though fifty years and more