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Saturday, 24 May 2014

They dropped like Flakes -- They dropped like Stars --


.

Flag Store, Lowell, Massachusetts: photo by Jim Rohan, 14 May 2014


They dropped like Flakes —
They dropped like Stars —
Like Petals from a Rose —
When suddenly across the June
A wind with fingers — goes —

They perished in the Seamless Grass —
No eye could find the place —
But God can summon every face
Of his Repealless — List.



Emily Dickinson (b. Amherst, Massachusetts, 10 December 1830, d.
Amherst, Massachusetts,15 May 1886): The Battle-field, as first published, 1891



Red, White and Bluejeans, Boston, Massachusetts
: photo by Jim Rohan, 2 October 2010

 


Memorial Day, Boston, Massachusetts
: photo by Jim Rohan, 9 June 2010



Memorial Day #2, Boston, Massachusetts
: photo by Jim Rohan, 10 June 2010



Prayer Flags, Wakefield, Massachusetts: photo by Jim Rohan, 1 July 2010



Prayer Flags #2, Wakefield, Massachusetts
: photo by Jim Rohan, 19 May 2011




Flag #2, New York City, New York
: photo by Jim Rohan, 25 March 2013

  

Serenade, Melrose, Massachusetts
: photo by Jim Rohan, 27 May 2013



Flag, Waltham, Massachusetts
: photo by Jim Rohan, 23 April 2013




Storage Yard, Everett, Massachusetts
: photo by Jim Rohan, 7 January 2011




Patriots of the Walking Dead, Massachusetts: photo by Jim Rohan, 4 November 2009


Mermaid with a Burger, Rusticoville, Prince Edward Island: photo by Jim Rohan, 25 July 2009



Low Flying Aircraft, Lopez, Pennsylvania: photo by Jim Rohan, 13 June 2009
  


Doves on a fence, Revere, Massachusetts: photo by Jim Rohan, 30 November 2009
 

Kellys Cross, Kelly's Cross, Prince Edward Island: photo by Jim Rohan, 4 January 2014
 

Church and State, Allston, Massachusetts
: photo by Jim Rohan, 22 December 2013




Carved in Stone, Wakefield, Massachusetts
: photo by Jim Rohan, 18 February 2014

7 comments:

Wooden Boy said...

repealless - list

What an acid sharp close! And the hyphen to let the force of the word sink it.

Comparing "seamless grass" to the sweatshop stitching on the flags.

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

Your posts are such a revelation. I never saw that poem of Dickinson's before... I'm really swept away by it. It and your photos are the most serious, realistic, tragic and illumined memorial for Memorial Day I think any of us could find, or stomach! All blessings on thee...

Lord Charlie said...

Beautiful Memorial Day montage. Emily's list is "repealless" -- what a strange and surprising word. And Pepsi versus Coke in the middle of all the flag waving. Hurrah. Mine eyes have seen the glory. -- DL

Matte Gray said...

A friend sent me this post, and it was so fine that i look forward to browsing your site this evening. Many thanks for reminding me of how very fine Dickinson was and for those superb photos.

TC said...

Muchas gracias, amigos.

What is there to say about the talent here, but top flight?

Jim Rohan, genius pure and simple. A poet "writing" with a camera.

His neighbour Emily, not such a bad hand at poetry herself.

This particular poem is not well known, but ought to be. It knocks me over every time I come back to it. Not that that's so difficult these days, but still.

Like much of Dickinson's work, it went through squalls of sea-changing from composition to eventual publication.

"Regularization" was the standard motive of editors.

Neat and tidy rhyming was inserted, if not present in the original.

Thus this poem ended up as follows:

They dropped like flakes, they dropped like stars,
Like petals from a rose,
When suddenly across the June
A wind with finger goes.

They perished in the seamless grass, --
No eye could find the place;
But God on his repealless list
Can summon every face.

TC said...

(Of course, it's the unanticipated dissonance in the UNRHYMING final line that puts the original version over the top... the grass is seamless, the dead beneath it are numberless, and the chill fingers of the wind, almost touching the reader's wrist as they inscribe the list without repeal, are as final and palpable, in their way, as Melancholy's finger, pressed to her lips as she departs, in the Keats ode...)

TC said...

(And speaking of inversion of expectation, the originality and ingenuity of doing red, white and blue in black and white is pure Jim Rohan; making us all the more susceptible to that spectacularly fortuitous "capture" in the second photo here, in full coordinated colour, the guy bending over the sea of flags, dressed to blend...)