NaPoWriMo 09 – day 21


Blues for an Old Photograph

Girl, if you knew what was coming, you’d flee.
Girl, I know you will suffer and grieve, 
and curl on the floor like a witchetty grub, and bleed.

Young. You are young, 
and strong – you’re strong. Just 
never enough, or for long.

Cross your arms on your chest – that’s right.
Cross your just-begun breasts – keep ’em tight.
They’ll attract attention much sooner than you’ll like. 

If I could tell you what was coming, would that help?
If I told you what was coming,
would I remain this self? 

Girl, you’ll go a long away from here.
Girl, so many things will disappear
but some part of you will stay anchored now and here. 

Girl in a grass-tree headdress,
Girl, gonna get yourself in eighteen different kinds of mess,
but none of it will kill you – quite
– and you’ll wear my scars yet.



Believe it or not, this began with a ReadWritePoem ‘Random Writing Tip’, which began: “Pretend an event in your life needs explanation…” What event in my life doesn’t need explanation?!! Which to pick, where to start, what to choose?

Then I decided to combine this with a challenge I’d been set by the haibun editor of Simply Haiku (you can read about it here on my haibun blog).

And so I went looking for photos, and found this one. And started writing. And wrote something else entirely. Oh well, the prompt for today was a photo. (Just not this photo.)

I apologise for the sentimentality of it. It is a self-indulgent poem. I’m torn myself between wanting to hug the girl in the photo, and wanting to slap her a few times …

3 Replies to “NaPoWriMo 09 – day 21”

  1. This is startling in a good way. I don’t know if it tarnishes my reputation, but I am actually a fan of sentimental, self-indulgent poems — if they are still solid, good pieces — and this definitely is.

    1. Thank you Elizabeth (have to get used to calling you that!). I hope I managed to keep the balance between sentiment and lyricism. I’ve never tried to write a Blues before, but it seemed to fit.

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