Image by Caroline Forbes

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

Recordings

Ruth Fainlight Reading from her Poems

1A Sibyl

2Blocked Sibyl

3Driving Northward

4Trees

5It Must

6Animal Tamer

7Passenger

8Handbag

9In Memoriam H.P.F.

10As Though She Were a Sister

11Death's Love-Bite

12The Knot

13On the Theme of Artifice

14Poppies

15Ovid among the Scythians

16That Presence

17A Mourner

18Homage

19Lineage

20Late Low Sun

21Thunder

22Facts About the Sibyl

23Elegant Sibyl

24Friends' Photos

25Young Men

26Whatever

27Autumn Crocus

28What

29Ordinary Sorrow

30Potatoes

31Feathers

32Four Pheasants

33La Traviata in 2001

34Sheba & Solomon: I - Their Words

35Sheba & Solomon: XI - Water

36Sheba & Solomon: XII - Solomon's Desire

37Moon Wheels

38Blankets

39Lovely Hands

40Crocuses

41Midland Contemporary

Books by Ruth Fainlight