Because of the plaid wallpaper, I think it was taken
at our traditional Kaestle's Christmas Eve party.
Probably around 1955, after I had left home.
My Sister Susan, who died this past year,
is holding her flute, and that might be Richard at the piano.
Marjory is ar right front. Then my brothers are, front to back,
David, Robert and John.
I can't place the youngsters on the left margin.
Over the years, many of our Hopper family group photos
were taken at this Christmas Eve Party.
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.
D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
Source: the poetryfoundation.org
This has been one of my favorite poems for a long time.
Here is the original professional scan
of the very underexposed glimpse of the past
also shown above. I cropped
the large dark raised lid of the piano at right
for the final version.
Maybe I should have left it in for the poem, , ,