Here is my Mother’s Aunt Vera
as though for a test on the screen
like a Hollywood Star, pure smile;
happy, serene, genteel like a heroine-
war survivor, positively engaged
with the future a dream.
Turning the page where a collection
of ladies, mostly hatted with one man
wait on the wharf for Crimson Tours to bring the charabanc.
One lady, in control, in the centre
banters with the photographer, another
has her back turned as the shutter clicks.
The next, a street party, circa 1960
or before, all festive with my mother
looking happy serving a group of pensioners
who look like they are reliving a Sunday School band-tea.
Everyone wears hats and there is a lovely bunch of flowers,
one lady glowers, a man has his customary
goofy smile and there are delivered milk in bottles
unlikely to be stolen on the step behind.
By 1970 the future seems to be arriving more suddenly,
when standing with camera on the end of the quay,
and almost unbelievably four or five
ducks carry a squadron of marines
into the harbour. What have we done
to be thus invaded? History approaches
us on a stormy day and I bury my chin
into my duffel coat.