She had been careful
not to allow polish
to seep through the cracked glass.
A young man;
difficult to judge his age
through the blur of camera shake.
A moment of laughter,
taken from the hip with a box-brownie.
Out of place amongst studio poses
of aunts, uncles
and The Reverend J Lewis.
I, unaware of her thoughts,
sip tea from a china cup.
I had known her all my life
but never knew who he was.
She handed me the photo,
asked if it could be repaired.
Under the disapproving eyes
of Reverend Lewis,
we talked about Daniel,
a son who played with fire
and was burnt.
Featured in New Lyre Summer 2022
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The thing that amazes me about this poem – and so many by Rowland – is how apparently prosaic they are. And yet for all that how profoundly poetic they actually are. Compare this with poems that use a much more ‘poetic’ diction, and yet turn out to be much more shallow and prosy. As if merely going through the motions, or emotions.
Does ‘Daniel’ for instance refer to the Prophet?
Note too the veiled internationalism of this apparently very Welsh very local poem. ‘Lewis’ is French as well as Welsh. Indian tea in a ‘China cup’! ‘Polish’! And then to cap it all that powerful suggestion of biblical Israel.
Rowland too has been careful not to allow polish to seep through the cracked glass. And so cover the image however blurred. So that, however unpolished and blurred that image is, it still rings even truer.