The water, the people,
their slim wooden punts:
all are steel gray. No surface ripple
upon this body, where float
smooth, young faces
holding neither sorrow nor joy.

Men pose, stiff in dress shirts,
slacks and straw boater hats.
Women, their hair pinned, pulled back,
sit snugged in bodices, in high-collar blouses.
Gloved hands rest on flowing skirts.

None is ferryman
for this nameless band.
They stare at me
standing ashore.
They wait.
Another boat shall appear.


My grandmother always found these family photos unnerving and mysterious because she didn’t know any of the people in them. They launched me in a different direction when I wrote a poem based on them.

6 thoughts on “Acheron

  1. What a beautiful poem…. I fread it on my email first, and it comes wihtout the images. When I got to your page and saw them it just smacked of the perfect combination. Reading your poem transported me to one of those old ferries of the mid to late 1800’s, a rope tied across the river and the ferryman would pull on the rope to get the boat across…. what a nice little journey this was… thank you for that…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s