Old Photo

…and in this one you are happy.

Your face says everything;

you are grinning from ear to ear

wearing a red ballroom gown

with your hair straighter than usual.

You have made an effort,

wearing make up for the first time.

The shawl around your shoulders is alluring

but unnecessary because…

I am by your side

grinning from ear to ear

in bowtie and tux,

just gotten off the hired coach

to our Final Fling –

the last stop on a long ride

of hedonism is ended

and the paranoia of final exams are over.

The immediate promise

of life ahead has erased all worry from our foreheads.

You are beautiful,

and I am happy.

This was a long time ago.

Now, the lines have creased our faces.

I have one for work,

one for the bills,

one for the kids

one for the aging parents

one for the life less lived

one even for you.

Your smiles from year to year

Have become narrower and narrower

until now, I cannot think

how you managed to stretch

your lipstuck mouth so wide

from your right ear to your left.


I wrote this in May 2008 and I got the chance of reading it out to an audience at Closenburg during the Galle Literary Festival last weekend. They seemed to like it.


5 thoughts on “Old Photo

  1. yeah dude, it was good then, even beter now that i read it! you’ve got this thing where you’re able to put yourself in the shoes of someone totally different and look at life from their point of view alone. which is great !

  2. I like your poems, original and more like the new voice of sri lankan poets that I want to hear. How come it is the bad poets who get published?

  3. solid effort. altho i found there could’ve been greater economy in parts (lot of local poets overdo the line/break/pause thing, this is distinctly not a criticism at this poem, which handles it fine).

    instead what i mean is, for instance, in the slow build up (for ‘the promise’ ahead of you) and esp in the stretch from ‘one for work.. up to …even for you,’ the long-winded and tediousness (which is exactly the point) works great but not so much for the end of the poem, which to me screams for a more abrupt, devil-may-have-you final blow to the former sweetheart.

    also the tenses used couldve been tricky (esp the for this type of poem), so great use of the present here:

    You are beautiful,

    and I am happy.

    but, but, i wouldve seriously looked at compromising the next line (‘This was a long time ago’) for the sake of avoiding (somehow someway) an obvious (and somewhat cliche) time reference. this is quite tricky without making the poem sound too jumpy though.

    this is all just (highly subjective) nitpicking. (and im practicing being a critic)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s