The Granta – a photograph
Linger, sun: sink like cider down the throat.
Clink glasses by the water, rippling through
And outward into green. There we all sat
Like old friends, like good friends. Cotton shirt
Sky-open, blue. I brought a little poem,
Small parts are opened, follow down the stream,
Open-backed. You brought your mother’s camera,
To press flowers with us. Press the summer flower:
Us, paper flowers. We were the day – and yet,
And yet, I can’t remember being caught
In that soft daylight. Seems we’d eaten well,
By the camera’s empty plates and scraps of full;
And yet I can’t remember dozing there.
I only wish I could remember how,
To drink the gold, like cider round the throat,
As passing whites and boaters simmer out.
Some of you should have finished your exams by now. And I hope you are exquisitely drunk. The elation, the peace, the sunlight which comes in bursts in early June: it will remain with you, in memory and, of course, in photographs. I remember the end of my degree, and the pub lunches we had at the Granta, by the carefree, idle Cam.
This response to Gary Holdaway’s excellent post, The Hands of Children, takes with it the theme, “plus ça change”: we look back on certain memories, we see how things change, and how life is transitional; but we remain the same. I like the motif of memories as pressed flowers, folded into photographs and kept for posterity.
Some people occasionally complain that the proliferation of photographs “ruins” the unique quality of certain moments. I see some sense in that. But I can say, looking back at my own summer albums, I am so glad that somebody was there, stealing that glimpse of us, tending to the moment for unthought-of futures. So snap away, I say. Press those flowers. Keep them safe.