Instamatic

Small square photograph
in the instamatic days of
pale colours brings to mind
vivacity and vividness
that the processing couldn’t
quite describe

Tall and lean with tousled
red brown wiry hair
my father reclines in the
bough of a tiny white boat –
I could draw the exact spot
of a hole in the varnished
plywood half-deck now

I’m terrified in the stern
and laughing-proud as for
the first time at five my
hand guides the tiller of a
spluttering petroleum scented
Seagull outboard engine

Orange mackerel lines trailed
fresh baked ham-filled
morning rolls were the
necessary presence for me
of my mother – and keenly
anticipated even in the midst
of navigating concentration

and sea-sunlight warmed
this small son’s soul
as we rode the mighty waves
and my relaxed and Old Spiced
beaming Dad called ‘good boy’
‘grand lad’ above the labouring
racket and tumult

and in the cottage on Y Fron
at evening, patting my mother’s
hand – ‘you know, our lad’s
not bad!’

Simon Marsh

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