Nose

Four photo’s gone from the light they were taken in,
the short parade that hardly forms your life, lying on the table now,
two of them made of you as a mobilized soldier,
a face with a long nose and frightened eyes,
(this is just before you met my grandmother in Rotterdam)
none of your wedding in 1919,
one of you with a basket of bread,
and one of which no one knows is it really you.

All of them fading now,
and these lines will only be read
by those who never knew you nor heard you
while I remember best your trembling voice
singing in the old people’s home
where we never took pictures.
The song was about a lord being your shepherd
and of lushly meadows where you never wanted to be. Grass is for cows.

Your face serious and beautiful paper white and pink
will live on sepia forever in a closed photo-album.
I have no pictures of you and me together
though I knew you for 14 years.
You left no inheritance, they say.
You even had to sell your wedding ring for food.
I do feel you are in my blood and more so in my face.
I’ve got your nose and I do like to sing when you are in my mood.

I did it again: I used the word “were” instead of “where”. Grrr

Comments on: "Nose" (12)

  1. How powerful a picture you paint, and what a life lived on the edge of poverty you draw out. Very moving

    • Thank you very much! That means a lot to me! Yes, they had a rough period (before, during and after WW2) but it didn’t make them bitter, I remember my grandmother to be very cheerfull in spite of it all. Maybe she took life as it came.

  2. Yes, powerful and atmospheric, an emotive poem.

  3. Love this Ina. You paint great pictures with words; I could see this person :).

    L&H xx

    • Hi Chrstine, thank you. The memory of my grandparents singing together when I entered the room is the best one I have of them 🙂 L&H xx

  4. why would we ever want less memories that should be memorized ! Superb writing and concise beauty!

  5. I really connected with this one, Ina … the last stanza reminded me of my ‘relationship’ with my grandmother on my mother’s side (she died long before I was born). She actually did sell her wedding ring for food. She bought a cheap ring from Woolworths so my grandfather wouldn’t know.

    Lovely way to share a memory! XO

    • Thank you Diane. It is amazing he didn’t notice! And nice of her to keep it a secret from him so he wouldn’t be upset 🙂

      My grandparents had to sell both of theirs and maybe that is why I am not too interested in jewellery lol. I lost my silver wedding ring in 2010 (in the house or behind ) and now I am wearing a cheap one that looks like it. But we bought rings in Whitby when we were married for 12 and a half years, that one is dear to me. It keeps falling of my middle finger these days lol. I better be careful 🙂 xx

  6. Photographs of memories – fading – memories of memories – fading – their songs and lives and physical cells live on – in us and our children – moved by your words Ina – thank you for touching heart…

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