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Black and white photo

by BenFranks


Black and white photo

The paper your photo is printed on is thin,
flimsy, corner to corner,
and your photo is grainy, cold –
you look sad.
Is it the grey wash of ink around your eyes
or the way your hair looks old in black and white,
or how the charcoal colours make those eyebrows full and thick?
I couldn’t say
but here, up close, I don’t recognise you.
I’ve never seen the coat, noir against your skin,
nor the scarf woven about your neck;
the background is so plain, I don’t know where you were,
not then.

Now you’re in the ground
and something tells me you’re smiling
after all these years;
not grey and cold
but warm, red, vibrant,
smiling, charming.

I miss you;
the photo is not you,
but as I throw the mud upon the wooden top
my eyes mist at the picture in my hands;
now I can see you, I can feel you close as anything,
and I know you’re smiling.
Down there you’re in colour
and we’re expected to remember you in black and white;
not today,
today you’re all in colour
and I love you.


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113 Reviews


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Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:21 pm
Bellarke wrote a review...



I loved it!!!!! It is like song lyrics from and ed sheer an song!!!!
You need to do this longer, but it is really good!! You are fantastic at this!!!

Good job. You did so well, and amazingly good at this!!!! And you did spell "Colors" Wrong though. It bugs me some times, but you didn't do it bad, you did it so good.
MY favorite part is:

"you look sad.
Is it the grey wash of ink around your eyes
or the way your hair looks old in black and white,
or how the charcoal colours make those eyebrows full and thick?
I couldn’t say
but here, up close, I don’t recognise you.
I’ve never seen the coat, noir against your skin,
nor the scarf woven about your neck;
the background is so plain, I don’t know where you were,
not then.

Now you’re in the ground
and something tells me you’re smiling
after all these years;
not grey and cold
but warm, red, vibrant,
smiling, charming.

I miss you;
the photo is not you,
but as I throw the mud upon the wooden top
my eyes mist at the picture in my hands;
now I can see you, I can feel you close as anything,
and I know you’re smiling.
Down there you’re in colour
and we’re expected to remember you in black and white;
not today,
today you’re all in colour
and I love you."




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113 Reviews


Points: 181
Reviews: 113

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Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:19 pm
Bellarke says...



I loved it!!!!! It is like song lyrics from and ed sheer an song!!!!
You need to do this longer, but it is really good!! You are fantastic at this!!!

Good job.
MY favorite part is:

"I couldn’t say
but here, up close, I don’t recognise you.
I’ve never seen the coat, noir against your skin,
nor the scarf woven about your neck;
the background is so plain, I don’t know where you were,
not then.

Now you’re in the ground
and something tells me you’re smiling
after all these years;
not grey and cold
but warm, red, vibrant,
smiling, charming.

I miss you;
the photo is not you,
but as I throw the mud upon the wooden top
my eyes mist at the picture in my hands;
now I can see you, I can feel you close as anything,
and I know you’re smiling.
Down there you’re in colour
and we’re expected to remember you in black and white;
not today,
today you’re all in colour
and I love you."




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Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:30 am
GreenLight24 says...



This is haunting and beautiful. Really cool poem. :)




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Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:16 am
deetea wrote a review...



This was amazing. So many different images popped into my mind as I read, even some memories. There are so many different ways death is seen, and this was just a great way to see it. Though I can't lie that I felt the heartbreak too. " Now you’re in the ground
and something tells me you’re smiling
after all these years;
not grey and cold
but warm, red, vibrant,
smiling, charming. " That was probably my favorite stanza, it gave me hope that things were going to get better even though none of this is my own personal situation, I still felt that it was. Your writing can do that! I hope you're very proud of yourself. You have talent and so much potential. Keep writing, it's fantastic!




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Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:44 pm
Awsomesauseness says...



yes I have to agree with everyone else this quite amazing. your use of details made me want to keep reading. it was absolutely exceptional. I look forward to reading more of this amazing work.




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Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:26 am
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Aley wrote a review...



I'm not going to make this long. It's a really good poem. You capture a lot of aspects of the day very well. There are a few things I'd like to point out just for your own interest rather than as something wrong with the poem. First, you have the narrator throwing mud upon the wooden top and holding the picture in both hands, that means the picture is getting all muddy. I'd drop the plural s on hands, and just have hand. Either that, or break up the two ideas into two sentences that way we can tell more time has elapsed than doing both acts at once. I mean, it's not that we can't see it, it's just a congruency thing which may or may not improve the structure a little.

Next, you don't really include smell, which is tightly linked to memory and old pictures typically do have a smell. Sometimes there's a smell we remember when we remember someone in particular. Reading the discussion you had with Messenger about this being your grandfather, I thought of mine, whom I've also buried, and the first thing that came to my mind was his smell, like a dusty dry, with a little bit of spice or wood. Probably wood. It's hard to remember exactly, but if you have something personal like that it's really going to bring this poem closer and really show the rest of us this personal connection, kinda like saying that it was a woven scarf.

Anyway, I just wanted to give you some feedback that you might be able to use to move forward. I know when I get a bunch of positive reviews, I feel kinda stuck afterwards. This poem has a lot of really great qualities to it already, and doesn't really need improvement. These are just things that I think you could add to your next work if you work with the same subject matter again to make new connections.




BenFranks says...


Excellent spot on the plural use of "hands", thank you very much. I didn't notice that. Interesting point about the smell! I guess it didn't really overthrow me when I recalled the experience but there is the underlying notion of it. I may use it more in future poems, so thank you for picking up on that. Glad you like it. - All the best, Ben



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Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:38 am
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Moose0428 says...



This is an exceptional poem! I really liked the message that was shown. You are very talented and I wish I was this good! Thank you for sharing this wonderful poem!!!




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Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:52 pm
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haylesbales says...



Well done! Bloody brilliant!




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Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:15 am
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MysteryMe says...



Wow, this is just too beautiful. You have a gift, my friend :)




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Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:09 pm
beeyaay says...



uuuuuuurggggghhhhh *groans loudly* this is beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
can we be friends? can you teach me to write like this? :D




BenFranks says...


Always happy to review any work you put up.



beeyaay says...


that's great, choose any of my works that excites you and give me just one review....how about that?



BenFranks says...


I will have a look for you.



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Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:33 pm
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Laminated says...



Good heavens, this is gorgeous.




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Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:39 pm
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hamei90 says...



I loved how beautifully you worded it. It gave me a good sense of black and white photos and how they can be artful. You gave a lovely description that brought on a vivid picture of many pictures that I can think of. Good job. Keep writing. I loved this piece.




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Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:45 am
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Messenger wrote a review...



The Messenger here to review for ya, because I saw rhia's emotional review.

And she had good cause for it. This was a sad and yet happy story. I love all the detail of the photo, how you make the condition of the picture decide what it looks like. That doesn't really make sense does it? I just think you did a really good job using the condition of the picture to make it sadder. Actually, most of the poem was sad. Very sad. .And I was hoping it would turn out to be happier. But the longer it went the more I got disappointed.

But! You did a beautiful job of making the color really come to life, and kind of save the day for the husband. I like he he decides to remember her in a better light. Sometimes I see poems and they end sad. But you made it happy. You managed to get both sadness and joy in one poem. It was done excellently. One part I really liked was :

and we’re expected to remember you in black and white;
not today,
today you’re all in colour
and I love you.

That part was SO sweet. IT was an awesome ending to a great poem. Sorry if this review kind of seems like a ramble. I was kind of distracted.
Keep it up!




BenFranks says...


Thank you for the review. Interesting that you described the voice as a "husband" - it is in fact supposed to be my own; although I do like your take on it.



Messenger says...


Oh! ha, i thought because of the photo being black and white it referred to an older couple.



Messenger says...


if this was a real experience I am quite sorry for you. :(



BenFranks says...


Don't be sorry, it is sad but as I say, I remember the colourful times with the person and that is beautiful - not sad. :) Thanks for your thoughts.



Messenger says...


That is actually really neat. That you can remember it like this. I don't mean to pry, and if this is too intrusive don;t answer, but was it a lover?



BenFranks says...


I don't mind you prying. Interestingly, no, it is not a romantic poem at all (but I quite admire the idea that it could be - it's been very interesting to see how people make different assumptions and are affected in different ways). The person in the photograph is in fact my Grandad.



Messenger says...


I thought it might have been a family member. I suppose people just suspect it to be romantic automatically.



ongoeslife says...


Actually, I instantly thought that it was someone's mother. (Which is pretty close to Grandad... Right?)



Messenger says...


I had that feeling at one point as well. Actually, writing a poem that is about your grandpa is petty unique. I've yet to read one before.



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Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:36 am
GreenTulip wrote a review...



Dang, this is an amazing pom. I love how you incorporate how the black and white effects of a photo. It made the poem seem better, as if you had known these effects yourself. This poem was well written, and I love how you changed from the black and white to color. The change was marvelous and well done. Within reading it once, it was well done and it hooked me from the start. A good poem, and a job well done. A small short review from GreenTulip.




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Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:35 am
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Laure says...



One word- breathtaking




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Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:33 am
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rhiasofia wrote a review...



Okay, so, yeah, on the verge of tears here.

I have absolutely no critiques. I'm not going to even pretend that this review is going to be anything more than me reviewing all the things about this that amaze me :)

I can't even speak. It all just took my breath away. You captured so much beauty, so much angst. There was so much feeling. It felt so real. You weren't focused on making fakey, cliché analogies. You told a story, you shared it with everyone, and successfully made me cry for a stranger. Your words were that amazing.

I love the bit about the noir coat, and the scarf. You gave me such a perfect visual.

Mostly, I love how different a theme it is. It was sad, but it seemed that you were sad that she was remembered in a sad fashion, when all you wanted to remember was color.

Simply stunning. I keep going back and rereading it because it is just so lovely and heart breaking. Thank you for writing something so stunning, and sharing it!




BenFranks says...


Many thanks for the kind words!




Anne felt that life was really not worth living without puffed sleeves.
— L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables