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  Cameo - a love poem by Australian poet Graeme King - funny poems, sad poems, serious poems and romantic poems. Poems for children, nature poems and environment poems, flash poetry, fantasy poems, funny limericks and more ©kingpoetry2007.
 

CAMEO

 The red-haired girl looked down at the ornately carved jewellery box, and thought of her wedding, two days hence. She smiled, lifted the lid and peered inside.

 It contained a family tree of heirlooms, a legacy of her step-father’s opulent upbringing. She was looking for “something old” to complete the four lucky icons and bless her marriage. An emerald pendant glittered deepest ocean at her as she rummaged amongst the glitterati of the family jewels.

 Pushing aside diamond trinkets and ruby relics she found herself staring at a woman, a brooch…a cameo.

 Like an ugly duckling amongst the sparkling swans of sapphire and gemstones, the ivory called to her, drew her hand. She picked it up, and the woman in the relief seemed to tut-tut her disapproval at the disturbance. She stared at the cameo, and she saw the memory…

                              *****

A young girl, no - her MOTHER – and a whiskered, long-haired boy

Sitting on a bench outside a school;

Mother – was it really? Held a hankie to her eyes

The boy said “Omigod, I’m such a fool.”

 

Mother wore a lettered shirt, a gift from her young man,

She wore it proudly, so the world would know

Why she’d given all her love to this impulsive boy

And on her breast was pinned the cameo.

 

The boy said” Don’t you worry, everything will work out fine,

I’ll get a job and do my school at night;”

Her mother nodded sadly as the cameo looked on

They both knew everything would not be right.

                              *****

 The red-haired girl came out of the dream – was it a dream? It had seemed so real! She had never known her real Father, and had only asked Mother about him once, the hurt and pain on her Mother’s face enough to banish the questions forever. Her step-father was comfortably rich, but she’d always suspected that her Mother’s love lay elsewhere. She looked at the cameo in her hand…and saw the memory…

                              *****

Early morning, freezing cold, a steam train at a siding

Full of soldiers laughing, brave G.I.’s;

Mothers, Fathers, wives and children thronging on the ground

Crying, smiling, happy/sad goodbyes.

 

A lady stands alone, apart, and stares up at the train

Shrouded in a foggy, steamy haze,

It’s Grandmother! A tear is sliding down her pretty face,

Waving to her husband of four days.

 

The cameo is there, pinned to a dress of bluish-green

It watches all the laughing, cheering men,

Brave and true, and young and bold and heading off to war,

Most would never see their homes again.

 

Grandma waved until the train was too far off to see,

Her sadness flowed around her like a tide;

She slowly walked away along the tracks that had no end

Aware of new life growing now, inside.

                              *****

 The red-haired girl dragged her eyes away from the cameo. Grandma! So aloof and distant, so cold, even with her only daughter. So that’s why Grandfather was never mentioned! She was never really cold and distant, she was heartbroken! Frozen in time with the husband she had lost.

 She couldn’t resist the allure of the cameo, and stared down yet again…and saw the memory…

                              *****

 

 A smoky room, piano music mingles with the crowd,

Clink of glasses, Charleston dresses, pearls;

A roaring twenties speakeasy above a barber store,

And on the stage two pretty dancing girls.

 

A table in the corner, wealthy man, Cuban cigar,

Sips expensive wine and waits, she’ll come,

Dance is over, pretty girl walks sadly through the crowd

Losing self-respect amongst the hum.

 

She sits down at the table and accepts a glass of wine

And smiles a nervous smile at the man,

She knows she shouldn’t be here but the rent was due today,

A girl must do whatever that she can.

 

He offers her a shiny box, she holds it in her hand,

Wrapped in golden paper, silver bow;

She opens it, commits herself to future’s unknown plan

And in the box there lies the cameo.

 

Dressing room, the door locked, all alone with carnal lust,

She tries to get the moneyed man to wait,

But he is in a frenzy and she closes weary eyes,

Says a prayer, resigns herself to fate.

 

One year later, convent gates, recent mother stands,

How she’ll live with this she doesn’t know;

Leaves her baby at the door and kisses her goodbye,

And on the baby pins the cameo.

                              *****

The red-haired girl knew instinctively that this was her great- grandmother,

Absent from all family reference, as nobody had ever known who she was.

She looked at the cameo again, but it had already whispered its secrets. She pinned it to her breast and closed the jewellery box.

                              *****

Organ music, ornate church, congregation smiling,

Beautiful the bride, upon her day,

Snow white dress, a cameo the only ornament,

Lost amongst the lace and huge bouquet.

 

She heard the preacher ask her: “Kayla, do you take this man?”

And suddenly the doubts came flooding through,

She wondered of the future, thought of Mother and her Gran,

And didn’t really know what she should do.

 

They waited for her answer and her heart it seemed to stop,

The future? How can anybody guess?

She looked down at the cameo, and asked it for a sign,

The cameo smiled up and answered “Yes.”

more of my LOVE POEMS here
 

Original pictures by Graeme King ©Kingpoetry2007  BACK to TOP

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