Other People's Misfortune

Other People's Misfortune

A Poem by Christine Anne Shaw
"

(1916)

"
Her name is Tryphena and she faces
a camera with pale solemnity. She stands
beside her brother, seated on a hard-back chair.

Her small left hand rests with dignity
on his right shoulder. He looks impeccably
smart in his newly pressed military uniform.

Brass buttons, polished and gleaming,
peaked cap, slightly tilted above one brow,
a half smile on his lips, eyes eagerly bright.

The soft gathers in her black silk skirt hang
loosely to her ankles and her open neck white
cotton, collared blouse is freshly starched.

Like a fragile bird she is, her waist so tiny
she looks as though she will snap in two.
They are perfect in sepia, they are forever in sepia

as sadly two days later on the first day of the battle
of the Somme, he was killed in action. Less than
six months later her husband was lost at sea.

The name Tryphena derives from Greek and means
dainty and delicate, as her appearance
would lead visitors of this museum to believe.

I stare at length into her long dead eyes
hoping beyond all hope that she was gifted
with the heart and courage of a lioness under threat.

© 2019 Christine Anne Shaw


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Featured Review

What an incredibly visual account, Chris. The elegant woman, her informed brother caught at a moment as tribute to their love but - a tragic future, including the loss of Tryphena's husband. Too many photographs remain of that time, a generation of men lost, and women who remained spinsters for the remainder of their lives. You've captured that sad, sad time so brilliantly.. albeit a terrible time.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

1 Month Ago

Many thanks Em. There are so many photographs, each one telling a story. This one though, I found my.. read more
emmajoy

1 Month Ago

There have been a billion tragic moments involving war.. but perhaps 1914- 1918 left the deepest sca.. read more



Reviews

What a beautiful sad tragic =(
Tryphena *-*
The utter rawness of this piece made me think of a movie about war, soldiers and losing the beloved ones. It's titled " Testament of Youth " I invite you to watch it ;)
Well written ^^

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

1 Month Ago

Many thanks, I must look up that film. Good to have your thoughts on my page.

Chris
i too like looking at old photographs or anything old for that matter. you've shed some light in a deeply, moving tribute. everyone has a story to be told and that the world needs to hear - that is how we learn and practice respect. your descriptions of them are mesmerizing. i can just 'picture' them standing there. too bad we have to grow up, huh? great share ... :)

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

1 Month Ago

Many thanks Pete. I really appreciate your thoughts and visit. All good wishes.

Chris
Awesome portrait Chris I love when an image strikes so much from you and the channeling ensues didn't get to see the image but i think I can in my minds eye from your write:)

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

1 Month Ago

Thank you so much Bunny. I never post images to go with my poetry, because I am trying to get the re.. read more
Robert Trakofler (Bad Bunny)

1 Month Ago

long live the bunny:)
Christine Anne Shaw

1 Month Ago

Long live the bunny :))
Beautiful image and a well written poem. well done

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

1 Month Ago

Many thanks Amanda for your visit and your review. Pleased to meet you. All good wishes.

read more
A fearful and tragic time when all we have are sepia and faded photographs to remind us of long lost souls.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

1 Month Ago

Many thanks augustus for your visit. Your thoughts appreciated. All good wishes.

Chri.. read more
I wish I could write modern poetry in this style!

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

1 Month Ago

Many thanks Ester for your visit. Most appreciated. All good wishes.

Chris
Just a beautiful write Chris. Thank you for keeping us reminded of these times.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

1 Month Ago

Hello Richard my friend. Hope all is good with you. Many thanks for your thoughts on this poem. Alwa.. read more
forever bound in sepia! i especially like that...all alone it sets the setting ..your poem makes it personal with a scene of characters, including me, in reverence at a museum ... of war ... i see her too as a brittle twig in appearance ... your closing gives this visitor hope that perhaps down the line I will see just such fierce courage ...maybe she joined and served as a medic ..or supported those at home dishing out hot meals ... as we celebrate our Independence Day one's thoughts most naturally turn to the fight for it .. and the price of it ... well done! thanks for sharing! :)
E.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

1 Month Ago

Thank you Mr E for your thoughts and your take on this poem. May I wish you a very happy Independenc.. read more
Beautifully told. So many women found the courage to move on. It's tragic for sure, but we rise above

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

1 Month Ago

I am sure you are right. I would like to think that Tryphena had the strength to build herself a dec.. read more
I always enjoy prose like poetry

well composed


maybe more can be done with this even

I'd certainly have front row seat

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

1 Month Ago

Thank you LitStar for your thoughts. Most appreciated.

Chris

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Added on July 1, 2019
Last Updated on July 1, 2019

Author

Christine Anne Shaw
Christine Anne Shaw

Berkshire, United Kingdom



About
Have been at Writerscafe for a year now, so pleased I made the change to posting my work here. Have loved reading poetry all my life, but never wrote my first poem until I hit 40. I wish now that I.. more..

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