Monday, September 12, 2011

Time to Think

Spring Solitude 
Over at Shutter Sisters today, they are discussing images as visual poetry.  Photography is one way I compensate for my lack of poetic chops.  I love to read poetry and have several favorites that have and will appear here.  Since I have absolutely NO aptitude for writing poetry, interpreting the poems of others through my photography is the next best thing.   Song lyrics also inspire me in this way, so there will be plenty of that here as well.

The old expression, "a picture is worth a thousand words" could also be said of poetry.  Yes, there are long poems, but the powerful feelings that can be elicited with such an economy of words amazes me.  I recently discovered the following poem and absolutely adore it.  The photo above was not a response to the poem, but the circumstances and emotions are appropriate.

The image was shot last April at what was my third personal retreat since last October.  It rained all weekend, and I must say the weather was perfect.  Three days with my journal, books, coffee, tea and time to think and be. As Collins says in his opening line "What scene would I want to be enveloped in more than this one?"

I can think of none.  

I Ask You
by Billy Collins

What scene would I want to be enveloped in
more than this one,
an ordinary night at the kitchen table,
floral wallpaper pressing in,
white cabinets full of glass,
the telephone silent,
a pen tilted back in my hand?

It gives me time to think
about all that is going on outside –
leaves gathering in corners,
lichen greening the high grey rocks,
while over the dunes the world sails on,
huge, ocean-going, history bubbling in its wake.

But beyond this table
there is nothing that I need,
not even a job that would allow me to row to work,
or a coffee-colored Aston Martin DB4
with cracked green leather seats.

No, it’s all here,
the clear ovals of a glass of water,
a small crate of oranges, a book on Stalin,
not to mention the odd snarling fish
in a frame on the wall,
and the way these three candles –
each a different height –
are singing in perfect harmony.

So forgive me
if I lower my head now and listen
to the short bass candle as he takes a solo
while my heart
thrums under my shirt –
frog at the edge of a pond –
and my thoughts fly off to a province
made of one enormous sky
and about a million empty branches.


  1. Lovely photo, and you are right, it goes so perfectly with the wonderful poem. Enjoyed the post! Jeanne


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