Friday, July 24, 2009

Poetry Friday--Lace from Both Sides

Several months ago, I came across an old photo of a little girl literally dripping in lace. The photo dated from around 1900 and was striking in its ostentatious display of wealth. I was moved to write a little poem at the time.

I came across the poem yesterday and I thought I would use it for this post, so, I went looking for the photo that inspired it. Of course, I couldn't find it again, but on the Library of Congress site, I found the photo below that I'll use to accompany it (the amount of lace in this portrait isn't half of what it was in the original photo!).

Portrait in Lace

At what age did you realize
that being a child of privilege
was not always a blessing?
Was it that day you had your
photo taken? The lace you
wore was starched and pressed.
Your hair curled.
Your ribbon positioned
and tied just right. Precisely
primped, your outfit impeccable,
nothing was missed in
the presentation--except,
perhaps, your heart.

© Diane Mayr
While looking for the photo of the child in lace, I came across a series of photos by Lewis Hine that showed children who worked making lace to help support their families. The photo below is from the same era as the photo above. The contrast between the photos is striking--one child deprived of a childhood to provide for another privileged child's adornment.

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is at A Year of Reading. Have fun!



Mary Lee said...

The second photo is quite the contrast...

Jet said...

I love old photos, D. These are great.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this poem today. Touching ending. And what a contrast between the images! (Would that we could say such contrasts no longer exist.)

Barbara said...

Loved the poem, Diane! And the second photo was a nice added touch.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Oy. That's how we do it. Both girls have no say in it either. Glad you posted this together today.

Andrea Murphy said...

The lack of joy in both children is striking. Your poem reflects this perfectly, Diane.