Professional photographer thrilled,
boxed images abandoned on windowsills:
numerous delicate glass negatives;
silent past generations of relatives,
ghostly images covered in dust;
hippo-hipped ladies, large in bust,
parasols held in genteel hands –
behind them Mount Ievers grandly stands.
Kneeling in south hall, working late,
carefully copied, three hundred plates:
big house history preserved,
previous occupants observed:
big dogs pulling bathchairs,
children not destined heirs;
family picnics, staff standing stiff,
(absent political threat, burning whiff).
Dark plates depict old residence,
monotones of Georgian elegance:
light through negatives burned,
life-breath to the long-dead returned,
– much family history to discuss,
‘Landed Gentry’ – but little fuss;
archival photos provoke these rhymes,
Victorian voices speak to present times.