Poetry and photography

Speaking of me, you may have noticed my twin interests: photography and poetry. I think of them separately, but both are creative expressions or the Universe talking back to itself visually versus verbally. I hesitate to bring the two together in the most obvious way, which would be to associate a poem and a photo. Foremost, there is "the thing not named," a concept I get from Willa Cather, although it is older and widely practiced. I have felt that if one *needed* to explain a poem, something went wrong (possibly in the reader’s head, not mine). The urge to explain is strong in me and all of my poems arise in a context that I could document and my 3 readers might even enjoy that.

I’m certain a poem and a photo could work together, but I’m reluctant to yoke the two together, to require you to see what I see in a poem or hear what I hear in a photo. I don’t even want to do that to myself, let alone to you, Dear Reader.

However, some things go together like [insert one thing] and [insert something that goes with that]. For example,

chaco  05-06-13 0007

Of course, over a period of 30 years, I’ve taken a lot of photos of Merri, any one of which might work as well here. And, she figures into more than one poem. But these two are a good fit, you have to admit.

Likewise, the pairing of my preaching raven with Wind Makes Crazy.

Poetry and photography are always on my mind, but in particular, I’ve wanted for quite a while to produce a book of either or both. Maybe someday.

Otre vez

Miguel Seco walked into Café Cervantes
and slapped a fat coin on the mahogany bar.
Staring each patron in the eye, he announced,
“This gold goes to the one whose poem pleases me most.”
A hush fell as we all looked around.

A young woman rose.
She told of bitter-sweet adolescent love lost.
With kindness in his eyes,
Miguel shook his head.

The newcomer confidently quoted a trite ditty.
He beat hasty retreat
as if Miguel’s look could kill.

The town fool belched a limerick that won only a wan smile.

After some silence,
an old man stood straight and
spoke of youth as a gift
unappreciated until gone forever.
We stared into our cups, some sobbing.

Tossing the coin to the old man,
Miguel said, “Otre vez, por favor. Otre vez, Señor.”

———–

[Café Cervantes is on the plaza in Poetica. It’s always open mike and most hours are happy.]

Pocket poem

He checked his pocket for change
and pulled out a poem.
To his credit, he valued words
more than money.
The cashier smiled and asked,
Do you want a receipt?
Yes, please.
She scribbled a response.

In this economy,
words are coins but
it’s how you arrange them
that adds value,
enriching poets and
making editors
investment counselors.

4/5/13

– – – – –
[written for Poem in Your Pocket Day, 4/18/2013]

reflect

Before dawn
I sit and wait
pen in hand.
I look across
this blank page
stretching forever.
Where are you?
I watch and wait
and look up to see you
at the edge of the woods
you emerge
and walk toward me
walking on water
toward me
that serene calm face
looking through me
at the world.
Am I your mirror? mjh

1/4/2005