The Hidden Photo

our smiling faces snapped at exactly the right time

sitting there among our favorite holiday toys

placed in a simple, cheap frame

my grandfather perched in his rocker at our entry

his requisite greeting meets us, a simple, “Hey!”

my grandma, her normal glum self, said little if anything

but we, the willing tweens, persisted on our mission

to present the frame

to our silent grandma seated in her own rocker

her reaction one of unwilling acceptance.


our mother, behind us,

watching this exchange with our paternal matriarch

speaks up with, “They wanted you to have this.”

grandma replies simply, “Okay.”


conversation drags while grandma holds the new photo

loosely on her lap


when she finally stirred to rise from her chair

we knew it was time for our photo to find

its rightful place

displayed among the dozens filled with grandchildren

her choice – a bookcase tucked behind grandpa’s chair

the disappointment grew knowing there it would stay

our faces would remain obscured

our photo



My Facebook PageMy Twitter Account



About John White

I've written off and on my entire life. It took years for me to finally take putting words together seriously. Now it's not, nor does it ever feel, like work. Writing daily has become habitual. No day is complete without words having appeared on the page.

Posted on December 16, 2015, in Poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 52 Comments.

  1. So, so poignant. I could feel it.

  2. Wonderful piece of writing…..Evoking memories…. 😉

  3. Ahh the memories…some of them keep us…while others tantalize us and some make us both happy and sad. Thanks for writing and sharing this John…‘your The Hidden Photo” poem also brings back thoughts of the hidden life…that can sometimes get pushed back…out of sight or buried too. Hope your week is going well 🙂 . Cheers****

  4. Thank you. This stirs a great deal for me, as well. Sometimes, it’d be easier to forget some details, wouldn’t it? I’d like to think that the echoes we continue to hear inspire us to create. 🙂

    • Thank you, Carrie! 🙂 You’re so right. If we could just let go of those “other” details, the bad ones, it could make life so much easier but I suppose it is, as you said, what motivates us to create and it may even help to make us who we are.

  5. hooklineandinkwell

    This heaviness strikes right to the heart…a sad image of not mattering displayed in beautiful lines…

  6. Very well written!
    Loved it.

  7. I felt this one

  8. Well written sad piece 😦

  9. Makes me want to be the best grandma I can be

  10. dinnerpotsandlemondrops

    I want to know more about grandma! This is a sad piece, a sad memory unable to be forgotten. Disappointment in youth and yet…the writer has life behind him now.

    I think…and I’m sure I could easily be wrong, but I think that Mr White now too wonders as to the “strangeness” of grandma and what it was that she saw in the picture that evoked this reaction…her mourning…Youth again I don’t doubt!

    …that, or she was just a glum grumpy grandma! 🙂

    • Thank you! 🙂 You hit the nail squarely on the head with the word “glum” to describe my grandmother. A woman who wasn’t at all affectionate and who seemed to revel in playing favorites.

  11. A sad notation which begs the heart to wonder why grandma responded in such a way. The window of youth shows so much, but reveals so little without history known in the unveiling.

  12. Fantastic yet sad. Loved it, Tweeted it and put it on my Facebook page for others to ponder. Blessings to you this holiday season and for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year! Shokai

  13. Grandparents are a strange *race*, my nanna wouldn’t open her Xmas gifts in front of us, she’d excuse the term, later, after she died, we found what was many years of gifts still wrapped in a cupboard.
    Sad, selfish and lonely.

  14. My heart aches for these children.

  15. Oh my, you are just so excellent in your ability to put us in the room where your words actually unfolded in real time.
    Thank you. I did not realize you knew my mum!

  16. Enjoyed the free-style writing; it brought back many of my memories with my family. Thanks for enjoying the Ballerina piece I wrote…..I forgot to write in that ;that was chapter one and that I’ll put a chapter up at least weekly…..thanks again and have a great week…

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

%d bloggers like this: