Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Surprising poetry win!

A couple of weekends ago someone flagged up a flash poetry contest on Facebook. There were some prompts to follow and one of them spoke to me so I powered up the laptop and wrote a little something. Before I could change my mind and come over all 'imposter syndrome' I emailed it off and forgot all about it. Then I got a message to tell me that I had won second prize! How thrilling and most unlike me - the last time I won anything it was a Brew XI bumper party pack at my school raffle and I was too young to drink it (Dad to the rescue!).

Now I have finally got round to popping a blog post up and sharing my poem with you. The prompt was 'The Camera Never Lies' so guess what my title is?

The Camera Never Lies

Black and white, board mounted, 40 years ago,
A face I recognise laughs out at me, a face that was mine, is mine.
Carefree, relaxed, happy, a young girl with her life ahead of her.
I remember that sweater, blue and white flecks, slightly itchy,
A polo neck that I would never dare today, foreshortening my already short neck.
Her eyes sparkle and her laugh is easy, open, filled with joy.

I remember when it was taken, late afternoon in the art studio at college,
A roll of film to use up, young friends messing around.
We posed and gurned for the camera, taking turns to shoot or model,
Unselfconscious as only the young can be.
Someone told me to smile, I did then I grinned and a belly laugh erupted
Caught forever on film.

Cameras scare me now; I hide in the background, make my excuses, run away.
The face I see in pictures now is not a face I like, a face I want to own.
The years sit lightly on me, that much is true, yet I still hate the picture I see.
The face is too faded and grey, too much like my mother; I see her everywhere
In my face these days.

My eyes are ringed with shadows as hers were,
My face is too round and soft as hers was,
My hair frames my face in the same way hers did.
The first hint of downturned wrinkles drip from my mouth,
Again I see her mirrored in my face.
Sometimes I catch a glimpse in the mirror and my breath
Flies from my body as I see my mother frowning back at me.

Where is that youthful laughter? Why is my face so frowny and sad?
If the camera never lies then I will avoid it, shun it, hide from it
Until it does. Until it shows me myself and not my mother’s shade.
Or I can forget the uncomplicated relationship I once had with my face.