Condemned - Poem by Tony Jolley
Faces fashioned by the genes of a generation long-gone.
Faces sentenced to serve an eternal half-life after death
Imprisoned within the walls of a single, monochrome microsecond.
Faces exposed in life to light on plate
Caught and condemned by judge and jury in camera.
These faces and their past-time porters
Have gone to ground, to grave,
Dressed in all the pomp and circumstance
Their hopes and dreams could muster;
Naked but for faith
And the Ferryman’s fare still glinting dull in their eyes.
Dead, they died a second, slower death,
Fading from the collective recollection of family and friends…
First the hole each left in life was full-size:
A made to measure grief;
The solitary seat where none would sit in spite of its vacant comfort;
The suit he once wore, steeped in his smell,
Still remembering his shape with fondness
Like some old and faithful hound pining for his departed master,
And holding fast to hope against a rising tide of reality.
Later, hand-me-down tales, mementoes and memories –
Those legacies of a live lived and lost –
Suffered in translation
Like autumn leaves blown free from the family tree.
Eventually even the dying out, died out,
With none to mourn its passing.
Faces in a photo.
Faces out of their time-frame….
….. but somehow still in mine.
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