I was just trying to learn the code for aligning pictures with space between and now I have it. The girlhood picture on the right has been up before but the two on the left I received from my father on Sunday. I can't date them exactly but the one in the middle might be 1954.
But now that I have them up there, a little more on her domain, about which I have written a few earlier posts.
I mean a domain restricted by ill health. She was otherwise a vigorous woman who was never going to be denied and would always stand up for herself, or indeed for anything. She was never a housewife until illness broke her towards the end of her short life of fifty-one years.
I have written a number of poems about her, and the 'Flesh' part of Reel has a whole section trying to figure her out as a presence from a child's point of view. Frankly, I don't remember the deliberate gypsy look of the middle photo very clearly, not in detail, but I have a strong sense of it even now as an aspect of her identity.
The more time that passes the more complex that identity seems to be. Emotionally, psychologically, woundedly, fiercely complex. I sometimes think she might be one of the supermodels for 'the artist's mother'.
One domain: the light box about which there is a separate poem in Reel. We are in the biggest room in the Budapest flat and she is scraping away at a black & white negative with a fragment of fine razor blade that she holds in her fingers. She is peering at the tilted surface of the light box, fully absorbed. I am sitting nearby abstractedly staring at her. I hand her my homework. My task for the day has been to decorate the lined borders of the exercise book with a folk design of tulips, alternating right-way-up with upside-down. But something is wrong. And then I say something wrong. Suddenly she is in a fury. She rises from her chair and hits out at me with a book. It doesn't hurt very much but it's a shock.
She sits down again, breathing more heavily.
I have no memory of her as in the picture on the left. That was a bygone secret self drawn from the well of Elsewhere. The nature of that Elsewhere is probably the best key available to the identity I am now reaching for.