A Photograph by Shirley Toulson .. Explanation

A Photograph by Shirley Toulson

This is a poem of remembrance with a rather sad tone. It brings into focus the unstoppable changes ‘time’ forces on the lives of humans and objects.
An old un-framed family photograph mounted on an ordinary cardboard has turned brownish and somewhat frayed with the passage of years. The photograph stands defiantly as a mute witness to the happy childhood days of the poet’s mother. It shows her mother, a 12-year-old girl, frolicking in the sea beach with two of her younger cousins, Betty and Dolly, at her sides. The wind blows her hair onto her face. Their happiness shows in their faces. They smile as they peer into the camera held by their uncle.
The poet, Shirley, was not born then. So, the photograph must be decades old. Her mother had a sweet face. The three girls stood in the water as it swept their little feet. No doubt, they enjoyed their time in the edge of the sea.
The poet’s mother has long departed from earth after living her full life, but the sea has hardly changed in the years gone by. This contrast is so striking.
The photograph takes Shirley down the memory lane. She recollects how her mother, now no more, used to stare at the photograph musing on her face that looked so innocent and sweet those days. Some twenty to thirty years must have elapsed in the mean time. She would chuckle at the way her cousins came dressed to the beach. It was childhood innocence at its purest. But, time has no regard for such mundane matters. It rolls on inexorably destroying, building and devouring the living and the non-living objects on earth.
The mother drew pleasure from her past childhood days. Shirley remembers how her mother laughed reminiscing about her visits to the sea shore. Both the happy moments have receded to the oblivion, never to return. The sense of loss is painful. Shirley feels the loss as acutely as her mother did. The photograph that rekindled the memories will, over the years, succumb to the ravaging power of time. It will also vanish from the face of earth. Every living being will perish; every inanimate object will head to the scrap yard, and every fun-filled activity will fall silent. This is the rule of Nature.
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8 Responses

  1. Tanya says:

    Pls be more informative!!

  2. Sonal says:

    Stanza wise explanation should be there.

  3. Shreya says:

    It was a good explaination. I understood by reading the poem once and reading this summary once. Thanks mate

  4. ash says:

    Quality explaination, but kinda vague. Stanza-wise explanations would’ve helped better.

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