Family Portrait – A Poem by Ronald E. Shields


Submitted by Ronald E. Shields

This hatred of factories.
I have never been in one.
Thirty years my father labored in a factory making film.
There is no evidence he ever took a picture.
There is a family portrait
taken by a neighbor I suppose.
My father is looking away from the camera,
his gaze focused somewhere the camera cannot see,
none of us can see.
He could be watching birds fly south
or waiting for the ice to break.
It is ten years since the factory closed,
my father gone seven.
As I look at the portrait now I try to follow his gaze.
I can see the river running around the locks,
through the arches beneath the bridge,
past the dark bones of the factories,
out to a hungry sea.

Photo Credit: Old factory on the Somme – Frits Thaulow


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8 thoughts on “Family Portrait – A Poem by Ronald E. Shields

  1. I enjoyed this.
    Thoughts can turn at any time – to the past; or to an unknown past that might have been, had another path been chosen – the hunger to know those paths never realized.

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