Photo & Poem: Snapshot

How did these things get so old,
when I remember as if just a week
has passed? This snapshot of a girl
sitting cross-legged with a dog, grass

and a zinnia garden behind. Years have
faded the colors flat, but I know that place.
I recall she was still in her teens then,
living tough on her own. Looking into the

lens without a mask, her face was plain
with longing, a naked yearning so keen
for a thing bigger than she could name.
Why is she so much easier to love at

this far distance? I recall the yellow pup
pressed against her knee died within
months of that summer afternoon and
that t-shirt made me feel self-conscious.

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
Horse Advocate, Author, Clinician, Equine ProBlog/FB/Email/Author/FB/Tweet/Amazon

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29 thoughts on “Photo & Poem: Snapshot”

  1. Very good; I really like this one a lot.

    I’m thinking about the line – Why is she easier to love at this far distance? It’s so well stated and very meaningful to me.

    I understand that; I see old pics of myself as a young teen and think, you looked fine, you were pretty, you were slim. But what I recall is feeling not fine enough, not pretty enough, not slim enough. Those were burdens I placed on myself. I never heard those negative remarks from anyone, but only from my own inner voice. Why didn’t I cut myself some slack, and feel I was just fine? My parents always thought I was wonderful, so why didn’t I believe them? I look at old pics of myself now and think why was I so unkind to myself? I’m glad we are now teaching young girls that they are perfect as they are.

    You wrote from third person, then switched to first person in the last part. I know that was intentional (as I can’t imagine you do anything without intention!) But I’m curious to know your reason.

    Of course as readers we want to know WHY the yellow dog died? It’s a lovely pic- if I was your friend back then I would have loved your haircut, and envied you the bangs. Mine was always too curly for bangs. Look how lovely your left wrist and hand hang. I’m thinking maybe you didn’t like the shirt as it was figure revealing and you weren’t comfortable with that? See how well this poem gets the readers thinking?

    oox Tara Tara Boyce First Edition Farm Tryon, NC 28782

    1019firsteditionfarm@gmail.com

    >

    Reply
    • Oh, my friend. Thank you. This poem took every ounce of courage I had to share. It was a hard time in my life and that was a second dose, on top of usual dose teen self-loathing… If we had been friends back then, I would have envied your petite size and curly hair, and most of all, your family. Yes, I felt naked in this t-shirt, and the good dog had crippling hip joints and I had no money for surgery, beyond my means in the 70s. I switched to first person as an acknowledgment that she is me. I wanted to bring her home.

      Reply
    • Oh my gosh, you’ve nailed it. All these years later and I still regret closing myself off because of my self criticism. Because I thought I wouldn’t fit in or ‘belong’, I didn’t. I think I missed so much for no reason at all. I still struggle with feeling invisible…

      Reply
  2. Your poem echos my experience at the same age. It really touched me. I have very few photos of when I was young but I can remember the pain as if it was yesterday. I am 60 now, finally getting the help I need to deal with that pain but I don’t have any regrets because those days made me the person I am today. I am so glad to know so many of us shared similar experiences…kindred spirits who happen to be horse people.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Pam. For as isolated as we might have felt back then, lots of of shared similar experiences. Therapy was wonderful for me, glad you are on that path. Take care, my friend.

      Reply
  3. Touched my heart, Anna. I felt this had to be about you – almost from the start. Having read your first book, “Stable Relations”, I understand better what lies behind this poem. I have used you as an example, often, as someone who grew to become one of the most accomplished and “make a difference” people I have ever known – in spite of very difficult early years. I urge everyone to read “Stable Relations” (as well as your other books) to see beyond your blogs.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Jean. Yes, I held my breath writing this one…I’d like to say that my past was all worth it for today, and it’s probably true. But I wish we took better care of kids, I sure wouldn’t go back. Thank you, my friend, for talking good about me when I’m not around. 🙂

      Reply
  4. I am so glad you found the photo, and even more glad you are willing to share some of the darkness of that time with us in a poem. You were so lovely then, and you are lovely now.

    Reply
  5. Anna, I have read your books and given “Stable Relations” as a gift to others. I have three horses, but also find great joy in many types of animals. Your books have put into words what I have felt for animals throughout my life. I love your writing style. Please consider publishing a book of your poems, with illustrations, in the future. Best wishes in 2019!

    Reply
  6. Thank you for sharing this memory with us. From there to here…you done good. I’m with you though…no wish to go back there. 🙂

    Reply
  7. I just want to go back and hug that young mare and tell her how brilliant and capable and lovely she is. And I want to save the golden pup. Alas, here we are. I shall head to the pasture and breathe with my gray mare in your honor. Thanks for the courage it took to post this Anna. It resonates with many a gray mare indeed.

    Reply

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