Poem introduction

This poem is called 'Friends' Photos', and it's about the experience of looking through old photograph albums.

Friends' Photos

Friends' Photos

We all looked like goddesses
and gods, glowing and smooth, sheathed
from head to foot by a golden essence
that glistened and refracted its aura
of power - the wonderful ichor called youth.

We moved as easily as dolphins
surging out of the ocean, cleaving
massed tons of transparent water
streaming away in swathes of bubbling
silver like the plasm of life.

Still potent from those black and white
photos, the palpable electric
charge between us, like the negative
and positive poles of a battery,
or the fingers of Adam and God.

We were beautiful, without exception.
I could hardly bear to look at those
old albums, to see the lost glamour
we never noticed when we were
first together - when we were young.


Friends' Photos: from Sugar-Paper Blue (Bloodaxe, 1997), © Ruth Fainlight 1997, used by permission of the author and Bloodaxe Books

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Ruth Fainlight

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1A Sibyl

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2Blocked Sibyl

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3Driving Northward

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4Trees

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5It Must

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6Animal Tamer

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7Passenger

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8Handbag

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9In Memoriam H.P.F.

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10As Though She Were a Sister

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11Death's Love-Bite

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12The Knot

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13On the Theme of Artifice

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14Poppies

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15Ovid among the Scythians

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16That Presence

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17A Mourner

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18Homage

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19Lineage

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20Late Low Sun

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21Thunder

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22Facts About the Sibyl

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23Elegant Sibyl

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24Friends' Photos

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25Young Men

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26Whatever

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27Autumn Crocus

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28What

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29Ordinary Sorrow

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30Potatoes

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31Feathers

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32Four Pheasants

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33La Traviata in 2001

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34Sheba & Solomon: I - Their Words

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35Sheba & Solomon: XI - Water

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36Sheba & Solomon: XII - Solomon's Desire

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37Moon Wheels

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38Blankets

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39Lovely Hands

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40Crocuses

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41Midland Contemporary

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Books by Ruth Fainlight