That selfie you took

Off to wherever for whatever, but first,
snap that photo in the here and now
and post it to the there and then,
the touch that was, hope fading into forgot…

There we’ll remain with our firm, sure smiles,
left for our heirs to puzzle over,
caught by us in their time as were we in ours:
whatever did we think we had to look forward to?

This is what ties us, each wave to the other—
no one understanding the race (going/going/gone),
or that determined moment we thought so real,
sent before us just the same, almost as if by accident.
What was it I thought I was saying?


I was struck recently by an article discussing how fast we are loosing the World War 2 vets. In the United States, 16 million men and women were in uniform for that conflict, but now less than a million are alive. Their median age today is in the mid 90’s. Those who still remain are (currently) dying at a rate of 500 a day.


Look at them. So young and confidant, so sure of the pure reality and timelessness of their moment and now fading, almost gone…and we who remain, no matter how hard we try, we cannot grab their moment, their reality.

And what does that say to us of our so-real-to-us, reality? Much, I think.

Thank you for reading That selfie you took. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

To see my photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh  blog.


Photograph, notes and poem © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge, The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its copyright owner.


Filed under Poetry

7 responses to “That selfie you took

  1. It’s funny how selfies from earlier in the 20th century seem so much more interesting than all those I see on Facebook today! What’s this project that you’re working on for your degree?

    – Elizabeth

    • I think that when we see an older selfie we assign a rough date to it and then try to imagine everything that has happened to that person. Can be a scary walk…

      I had the option of either doing a thesis or a project for my Masters in Digital Sciences from Kent State University. Hating research I opted for the project which I pursued at my work. I was (of course) really late getting it in…days under the very last possible wire and 3 months after I had said I would deliver it. Still it’s done and just heard that I got an A on it! 🙂 I am very pleased.

  2. This post, powerful, hits (not the nail on the head, but) the picture right on the money … and takes me to those awesome men and women in the 2nd World War. My dad … he was in the South Pacific in World War 2. He is 92. I know that he is ready to go Home. This was really good, John. Peace.

    • Thanks T! My dad was in the Navy and crisscrossed the Atlantic on the Save England convoys. He passed away last year at 90. Interestingly it was only in the last few years of his life that he would talk about his WW2 service. Eventually I realized that it was survivor’s guilt that had kept him silent all those years…he saw too many men not come home.

      What a generation they were!!! 🙂