In the picture

The bride and groom, their mothers,

the two bridesmaids,

the groom’s brother and the bride’s brother,

pose for this outdoor photograph.

The foreground is clear, the background misty.

It is London in September 1905.

The men wear top hats and high stiff collars.

The bride—solemn in her veil,

is holding lilies and carnations.

Unsmiling too the bridesmaids

in their large hats and muslin frocks.

Everyone looks glum.

Someone has laboured over the girls’ dresses

and scrimped to pay for flowers.

Could the men have hired their hats?

Their frock-coats? We shall never know.

And who has found the money

for this professional photograph?

All might pass quite unremarked except,

backdrop to the wedding group, is a high brick wall

spiked on top with shards of broken glass. 

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