The Custodian


A thousand memories scattered on the table all around,
bands who march in uniforms but never make a sound,
rivers run, while kids have fun, among the seaside throng
and revellers, with beery faces sing a silent song.

Hop pickers and Monarchs; mixed with young boys from the war,
whose eyes belie the messages of things they’d done or saw.
A mountain ~ Dogs ~ The Parthenon. A sleepy village street
with someone driving carriage past soft willow trees that weep.

Women stand with garish hats while men-folk sit austere
and children dressed in Sunday clothes who grin from ear to ear;
a lonely man stands proudly with his new car beside him,
that’s often been recycled now from ships to baked bean tins.

Who was the last custodian, who held the treasured key?
To places, names of loved ones who are staring back at me,
is this the end an auction? All these memories long past,
Lives, loves pain and friendships, “sold”; That box of photographs…

 © Dan Lake, 2013


Me too Dan.  When at car boot sales I see old family photo albums or framed photos, from house clearances at lot of them, and wonder why some do not value their ancestry or want to know their history. I imagine some old lady or man to whom they were treasured memories that had been kept safe for several generations but no longer of any use or interest to what family remain and it makes me sad. I have scanned and transferred most of mine to CD’s but wonder if they too will end up in the bin.

Patricia Curtis