This poem is called 'Friends' Photos', and it's about the experience of looking through old photograph albums.

Friends’ Photos


We all looked like goddesses
and gods, glowing and smooth, sheathed
from head to foot by a golden essence
that glistened and refracted its aura
of power – the wonderful ichor called youth.

We moved as easily as dolphins
surging out of the ocean, cleaving
massed tons of transparent water
streaming away in swathes of bubbling
silver like the plasm of life.

Still potent from those black and white
photos, the palpable electric
charge between us, like the negative
and positive poles of a battery,
or the fingers of Adam and God.

We were beautiful, without exception.
I could hardly bear to look at those
old albums, to see the lost glamour
we never noticed when we were
first together – when we were young.

from Sugar-Paper Blue (Bloodaxe, 1997), © Ruth Fainlight 1997, used by permission of the author and Bloodaxe Books

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