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Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Movie That My Parents Made

They met and married in law school:  love at first sight, a whirlwind romance, a romantic elopement.  Today would have been their 63rd anniversary.

Requiescant in pacem.


Older now than they were then
gazing at their youthful faces
strong and confident, unafraid
of all that life would bring
and throw against them, not
knowing then how awful and
how wrong it all would end.

Older now than they were then
struck by their youthful beauty
remembering, barely, their
unlined faces and the quick
movements of their bodies when
I was just a child and did not know
how wrong it all would end.

Older now than they were then
enough in fact to be the parent
of either one, stretching out
a warning hand, I call to them
Look out, turn back, do not proceed
into that dark night, you do not know
how wrong, so wrong, it all will end.

Older now than they were then
the single fruit of that mad cleaving
only I am left to grieve their story
and I alone foresee the plot will
wind and twist about like mangled
sheets and strangle every hope
and know how wrong it all will end.

Older now than they were then
mourning the untroubled faces
the black ringlets, the red curls
that tangled softly once on
pillowed dreams, but grew
like tendrils in a nightmare land
of bile and blood where love
sweet love would end so wrong.

Stop. Go back. Do not do this thing.
Love is not all. Courage is not enough.
Youth will not last, nor tenderness.
Please turn that car around
before you cross the fateful border,
go back into your separate lives,
for love’s own sake. My phantom cry
falls voiceless on their unhearing ears.

So on and on the story goes,
nothing now can stop the denouement,
the weeping end, the fade to black.
All must be what it must be. And I
step out into the glare of lights
and cameras, the action of forgiveness
playing out the sequel to their story
which must not end so wrong.

7 comments:

Mareczku said...

The picture is beautiful. The poem is excellent but quite troubling. Their love produced the miracle of you.

TomS said...

Russ,
Your poem is intriguing...it is quiet and ominous but from within it I hear you cry out for something. I hope you will tell us their story some day.

Old photos are so expressive, even more than those taken with the latest technology, I think.

Thanks Russ!

Russ Manley said...

It's a reflection and a remembering, not a cry for anything.

But thanks guys.

Jeepguy said...

It does seem like a dark piece of writing, Russ. I try to recognize things for what they are without judgment or projection as to intent, but oftentimes there is an underlying emotional reaction. Such is the stuff of art!

I'm a real junkie on old photographs, too. For me, they often stir up old stuff inside me, sometimes pleasant, sometimes not so comfortable, but that's ok. I think the thing that the newer images lack is historical perspective, which is often closely tied to our feelings about past experience.

Anyway, good post, Russ.
Thanks!

Stan said...

I often wonder what impact our parents have had in our own lives even after they are long gone.

Russ Manley said...

Gary - yes the old studio portraits have something our modern snapshots totally lack.

Stan - we are our parents, which gets more and more obvious the older we get, I think.

Thanks everybody for your appreciation of this rough draft. Needs more work, but I put it out there to commemorate their anniversary, which no one else in the entire world now remembers.

And life goes on.

Mareczku said...

I love old pictures too. I am lucky, my parents just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. They are the greatest. My mom is still the best cook. I think I was a someone indulged when I was a kid because I was the "baby".

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