Family Album

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Family continuity is the theme of this particular poem.



© 2007, Wanda L. Harrell


After trudging up the twisting, well worn stairs, the old lady decided to explore

Her attic's treasures, randomly strewn across the wide planks of creaking floor.

Crippled rays of sunshine made their way through grimy glass windows paned

To illuminate odd bits and pieces of what the dusty, neglected room contained.

Amidst a treadle sewing machine, trunks and a dress form stood an old bookcase;

Silently beckoning from a shelf there, from a long forgotten hiding place,

Was a book encased with a dense layer of dust gathered through the ages,

A once crimson velvet photograph album with antiquated, thick, cardboard pages,


Seating herself in an aged white wicker rocking chair she dragged from across the room,

She prepared herself to relax, and at her leisure peruse the long forgotten volume.

After blowing dusty time from its cover, and with a mind curious and solemn,

She slowly and gently opened this old book, her family's long forgotten album.

Preserved therein were faces of her heritage, her ancestors from long, long ago,

Men, women and children in sepia tones with each name carefully written below

In the tin types and fragile photographs of couples, standing straight and tall,

Wearing their finest garments of the day, but on their faces, they wore no smile at all.


Babies were held in their mother's arms and small children sat upon the knee

Of their father; all were dramatically posed and proper for the camera's eye to see.

Having been erased from memory; her curiosity was new and would not let go,

So with each gentle turn of the page, her interest seemed to thrive and grow.

Driven to do more than give a fleeting glance, her eyes paid attention to their eyes,

Thinking about the myriad tears that had long ago flowed amidst woeful outcries.

While viewing the smile less faces, she wondered about their laughter's sound,

And if any one of them possessed a contagious laugh, infecting everyone around.


Gingerly turning the pages; her mind filled with thoughts of each and every one,

Puzzling about the person and every day living before their lives on earth were done.

Suddenly, her attention was caught by a lady whose face was round and fair,

A lady who primly sat with folded hands in the very same white, wicker rocking chair.

The photograph was of another elderly woman, a woman who looked just like her,

But there was no name or even initials inscribed underneath the old-fashioned picture.

Immediately, tears began to well up in her eyes; her vision promptly began to blur,

While she feverishly fumbled through the heavy book to find another image of her.

Disappointed, she quickly returned to the previous page, and could not help but stare

At the woman's face and the crocheted cap covering most of her snow white hair.


While sorting through distant memories of her personal past, she poured over each detail,

Desperately trying to recall someone once mentioning this woman so old, tiny and frail.

Tears of grief ran down her wrinkled cheeks for a lady who would stay forever unnamed

In the family album, just one moment of a full life was the solitary thing that remained.

With no way to know if the mystery woman was a grandparent, an aunt or second cousin,

She finally concluded she would have to wait until she joined this ancestor in Heaven.

But, she continued to lament about the unknown life and name of the nameless woman

As she closed the silent treasure, and sat with hands folded upon her family album.



Submitted: March 12, 2007

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