Sunday, July 13, 2014

the button that would keep us there

“Our mothers wore dresses -- slim at the waist, skirts flaring”

I don’t read a lot of poetry, and much that I do read is soon left behind.  But sometimes I’m lucky enough to find a poem I really like.  It seems extraordinarily true, or well-said, or beautiful, or thoughtful, and when I read it again the next day it's just as good.
We wore dresses "so white they dazzled even the grainy eye of the camera"

Such a poem
 appeared a few days ago at The Writer’s Almanac.  It was about photography -- about how we take photos hoping to fix, set, make fast certain moments in our lives.  This seems to be a reflex, almost instinctual, perhaps something as deep as fear of death or desire for immortality.
"Everyone we knew was young then."

Or maybe we're writing our stories.  If so, then we should hold tightly those memories that fit the tales we were told as children, to overshadow disappointments that intervene.

"we looked down into the viewfinder to
press the button that would keep us there,

as if we already knew that this was
as good as it was ever going to get"
"that was the last perfect season"

The poem is The Last Perfect Season by Joyce Sutphen.


  1. Thanks for sharing that lovely poem, Hollis. I'm quite envious of people that can remember poetry and wished that it was still part of English classes when I was at school. Great photos too!

  2. Excellent! Thanks for pointing me at this from the tree news blog post. You really WERE there under the redwood tunnel!
    And some of your pictures remind me of my childhood clothes in the 1960s...
    That poem is very sad - such nostalgia for lost innocence etc.
    All the best :)

    1. Thanks, Pat, for taking a look at the post. I'm glad your tree news prompted me to reread it. I agree the poem sad--in some ways quite sad for me as my parents' life became pretty difficult later on. But I find it helpful to look back on the good times.
      Best wishes!