WHAT IS THE PHOTO WORTH?
It's sad to see the sale of things, winding up deceased estates, the auction room was filled today, many lots most second rates.
That was until I stopped to gaze as if ordered by decree. A soldier boy in khaki serge, sat there smiling back at me.
“Come on”, cajoled the auctioneer, “Where is my opening bid?”
A silence fell upon the room when no single person did.
A thousand thoughts raced through my mind and I'm sure I saw a tear that trickled from the soldier's eye, in reaction to his fear.
The dusty glass and aged frame had for years been stored away, until someone with callous care, placed it on the list today.
All those who know our history could define it World War One--
The slouch hat and the Rising Sun labelled him an Aussie son.
“The frame is worth a hundred ones” seemed as cold as graveside clay--
My thoughts were drifting somewhere else—Sari Bear or Suvla Bay.
How could that fresh face in the frame with its youthful eyes and cheeks know anything of horrid war and the carnage that it seeks?
Perhaps he sailed away to France, where conflict was so rife. Perhaps there is a later 'shot' that is posed with his young wife?
In flea infested trench of mud, rained upon by shrapnel hail, I see this sepia soldier held to ransom by this sale.
Do fields of Flanders know this man where he sleeps forever more? Do poppies colour sombre ground, symbolising wounds of war?
I see him with a comrade mate, silhouettes both starkly white as fusillades of lead and flares, burst apart the angry night.
“A hundred for the frame', he asks—is his conscience not awake?
Is there no one from the family kin, here to mend their great mistake?
“The frame is worth a hundred ones”--could that be a sneer or mirth?
Your value is a hundred Sir? Tell me—what is the photo worth?
by Kevin Pye.
Mudgee Valley Writers. Contributions welcome from local writers, send to email@example.com