Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Minor with Frown in Snow


.

MAJOR box camera made by National Instrument Corporation (1947): photo by John Kratz, 22 July 2007



Time-browned crinkled photo of frowning snow
Suit boy in blizzard with big shovel
Who does not yet know he’s about to pose
Problem
for self family and wider world
Only that his purpose is to shovel snow
But having in a wink flake-blinded
Leapt smack into that baffling white expanse --
What was it went wrong? Or was it a rightness
 

As yet mercifully unfigured
In those bewildering colourless designs
Led him down the frozen path to adulthood --

Or the thoughts of each mechanical hour
And only seeing through the long night
More snow falling all round the edges
Of the picture -- low breathings coming after
With footsteps almost soundless in the blank drift?




File:Toy robot.JPG
 
Toy robot in the snow, Boston: photo by Jonathon McIntosh, 2003

8 comments:

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

from the "frowning snow/ Suit boy in blizzard with big shovel/ Who does not yet know. . ." to those "footsteps almost soundless in the blank drift" -- a Minor / Major beauty.


1.16

light coming into sky above still black
ridge, song sparrow calling from branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

likeness of figure in prose,
may have sat for that

fixed in place, whose shape
composed, here called

silver of low sun reflected in channel
clouds on horizon to the left of point

TC said...

Many thanks, Steve, for that.

I couldn't just sit around year after year and remain the ONLY poet here who counts his syllables.

Call it a case of syllable envy, if you will.

Nin Andrews said...

Syllable envy . . . I love it.
but now snow envy I imagine.

Snow taking a break here, but I am sure it will be back soon

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

A blankety blank blizzard of words--
let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Wooden Boy said...

I love the frame dissolving with the snow fall.

Our lives figured without mercy in time while there, in the instant, just doing what we do. This is running through my head and will be for a while.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Here's to we who count syllables (and letters, and the spaces between them) as the orange circle of the sun comes up through branches.

TC said...

Thanks all. There's something about the mystery of very old family photos, the scattered moments of time that have temporarily escaped oblivion and slipped through a crack in time to bring some elusive hint of a past no longer remembered.

Photos meant so much more anyway then, when not (as now) taken by a robotic device that aims, frames, shoots, in fact in all important respects takes the picture for you.

The picture at the top of this post shows an approximate likeness of the camera with which the photo mentioned in the poem was taken.

And of course the subject of the photo may or may not have actually been an organic life form. From the outside, in the receding rearview image, it's not easy to tell the difference between a mechanical boy and a real one.

Marie W said...

Major and Minor caught (in) a flake storm. Do they feel the cold I wonder. Meanwhile that box doesn't want to let me leave this page. When I see old cameras I become a child in a toy shop. I need them all :-))