Short Summary – A Photograph
The poem opens when the poetess looks through the cardboard boxes carrying her mother’s photo. They may have lasted for some time without any care. Furthermore, it is not contained in a frame, metal, etc. As a result, the poetess describes it as being vulnerable to forces of decay. The poetess’s mother appears to be overshadowed in the picture by her younger siblings. She also highlights the courage of her mother, who helps raise her young cousins.
When their brother or uncle takes a picture of them, they all stare into the camera. Additionally, with their bouncing hair and charming faces, they express happiness and excitement. The picture also portrays sea waves slamming on them as the little girls learn to keep up with the waves. The poetess continues to think about the ocean. Her mother, who is pictured standing still, is able to withstand the change because she has accepted her mortality.
In the second section/phase, her mother remembers the day at the sea in her later years. She also remembers her two cousins and the event captured in the picture. She often makes fun of the clothes she and her cousins wear. These lines have a sad undertone as the mother struggles to accept life’s never-ending motion as she gets older. Perhaps she tried to go back to her youth by looking at herself when she was 12 years old, but doing so acts as a harsh reminder of time and adulthood.
The poetess remembers her mother, who passed away earlier, in the third section. The image also develops a memory for both individuals. Because it keeps mother and daughter together even after the mother has left the daughter permanently. The poetess admits that she enjoyed looking at the picture because she could picture her mother laughing, just as her mother did when she thought back on their day at the sea.
She also observes that the amount of time since her mother’s final departure is equal to her age in the picture, which is 12 years. Perhaps it’s a coincidence or a death-related irony. In the end, the poetess and her mother made peace with the shift and their memories. Despite the fact that they remind them of the fleeting nature of laughing, good experiences, and so on.
Despite the reality that death or an end leaves everything quiet and empty. But the poetess feels the loss of her mother to be strong and motivating enough to express her emotions in a poem and tribute. Although death ends everything, this is the truth. But the loss of her mother triggers a different reaction in her. Finally, she agrees (quietly) to accept the ultimate silence of death.
About The Author
The writer of “A Photograph” is Shirley Toulson. Looking at a picture of her mother when she was approximately twelve years old as a child, the writer of this poem remembers her mother and her memories. She passed away twelve years ago and is unable to express her sorrow over her mother’s passing.
Inside a photograph summary, the poetess wishes to convey the message that death is unavoidable, therefore live your life to the fullest.