Volume LIV Number 7-8
Quadrant magazine is the leading general intellectual journal of ideas, literature, poetry and historical and political debate published in Australia.
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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.
The Quadrant Book of Poetry: 2001 - 2010
edited by Les Murray