Thursday, January 19, 2012

Saying Goodbye

The Thursday Think Tank prompt at Poets United is : Goodbye

Immediately, I thought of this photo, of my grandparents, my mother, (center, back row), and my aunts and uncles, whom I thought were as glamorous and sophisticated as movie stars back then, when they were in their heydey. All departed now, except for my Uncle Don, (on the far left, back row), still alive, still blonde, still handsome at eighty. At Christmas, Lori and I watched the family video, all of those heartbreakingly vital years, when death and partings were the farthest thing from all of our lives. There is one take where everyone had gathered at my grandparents' little cottage on Christleton Avenue. Two by two the couples come out the front door to smile into the camera, and the grandkids, and then my Grandma and Grandpa. Everybody beaming happily and innocently into the camera, all thankfully unaware of what the years ahead would bring.

Out the door they come,
two by two,
the glamorous aunts and uncles,
all smoking,
with drinks in their hands,
(it was the 60's),
all beautiful.
We kids thought they were
the height of cool.

Into the camera they smile,
happily innocent
of the futures that lay in wait.

The grandkids are smiling too.
Now we all have
turned into grandparents
and so many of those 
dearly loved faces
in the blurring film
are gone.

We couldn't know it then
but as the camera caught 
their brightly smiling faces,
they were already saying


  1. reminds me of the last pic i took of my grandmother who left us last january...moist eyes tonight



  3. You look like your grandmother, Sherry.
    Christleton was in such a nice a nice part of town (well, except for the hospital and ambulances). The lake was so close. Sigh.
    Yes, the 60s are long ago and far away.
    My mother was an only child, and my father's brother and sister died some years before he did. His sister-in-law, the mother of my "boy cousins", is still alive and well at 80-something.
    Dad was the eldest in his family, and I remember thinking my aunts and uncles were so beautifully romantic, too.
    Yes, long ago and far away.
    Luv, K

  4. Sherry this is so beautiful...and yes we are dying/changing/transitioning from the moment we are born...everything, everyone temporary...yet the memories live on as long as there are those of us to remember.

  5. Wow, Sherry; this strikes me strong. Yes, they were already saying good - bye. They didn't know it, but they were. We were grabbing memories as they shared them, wouldn't be long. And probably the younger generation could say the same about us, don't you think? We perhaps are now the generation that is on the way out......sigh.

  6. Thanks for sharing this beautiful part of your family. This is touching... and I feel the same way when I look at my old family photos too ~

  7. This is beautiful..we never know when a photo is snapped if it will quickly become goodbye

  8. truth IS better than fiction. you proved this with you forward and poem, a grand pair for the Thursday Tank.

    good job.

  9. This is wonderfully written and a rather strong poem! The last stanza really ends the poem well. Awesome work =]

  10. Beautifully written, Sherry. The last stanza said it all for me. Awesome poem. ~ Julie

  11. 'Innocent' is the perfect word. The mention of the smoking and drinking is quietly chilling, yet their unaware happiness is beautifully conveyed.

  12. aaawww...strong feelings behind this piece. strong and powerful memories can do that. i also want to thank you for visiting my blog and leaving me such a nice comment about the Mary Oliver's poem and my story. thank you. it's always amazing when an art piece like a poem can unite people in their heart. i'm glad you stopped by too. i hope we can continue the connection and support each other. thanks again, Sherry.

  13. Sherry,
    I love how this piece, the photo and poetry combined, offers so many perspectives: Yours, now, looking back ... that of a child ... the elders pictured. You did this seamlessly. Well done!

  14. Yeah!! I can finally comment. I wanted you to know I love your tanaga... and the family picture with the goodbyes in the last stanza is priceless.

  15. How coincidental, I had already written something about 'goodbyes' for a couple of friends to post today.
    Loved the picture Sherry. You commented on mine before I even published it! LOL I saved it before I made it private until it was finished. Talk about quick on the draw:)

  16. This is an eerie experience for me as I was just reading a book called, "The Accidental Masterpiece" this morning and a chapter in it spoke to this very thing - how a picture can be captured and when we look at it we must imagine the "anterior" world of when the subjects will no longer be with us.

  17. wonderfully moving have a way of tugging at heart-strings.lovely lines.

  18. This is such a good poem. How lucky we are that we can't see the future. I sometimes catch a glimpse of a photo of someone who would be gone so soon after the photo was taken. Looking at the smiling face, I can't help but think how they never saw it coming. What a blessing.

  19. Oh, this is so moving and touching!
    I can see the movie camera of my youth going now. Thank you Sherry, I really enjoyed this take on the prompt! I love the photo :D

  20. One of my sister-in-laws found a bunch of old films in my mom's stuff and had them put on video, there's no sound but I can't watch it without shedding a tear or two, wonderfully poignant, just like your poem.

  21. Excellent Sherry ... an excellent sadness.

  22. Dear Sherry, let's say good bye today, no matter what comes. It is said, we should celebrate our death day, each year, just pick a day, any day will do. Say good bye, perhaps if we keep death close bye, we will value life all the more?


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