So you tore yourself away
from news of revolution
to stand under an umbrella in the woods
as the trees made rain?
Yes. The news means nothing
if I close my eyes & ears.
But what did you see?
Not the trees & ice around you—no.
But a pressed-down people
righting themselves with a shower
of broken shards, bowed limbs rising,
Those were incommensurable events.
There was nothing the trees could’ve done
to resist their liberation.
And what did you do
while the forest was shedding
its only copy of itself?
I tried to freeze it
with a pair of cameras,
one for motion,
one for the moment’s immortal soul.
Why didn’t you drop everything
& join in?
* * *
Adapting my ice-storm videos to a pre-existing poem, In the Ice Forest, proved impossible, so instead I tried the ekphrastic approach and wrote a poem in response to the footage — and the experience. For me, it usually happens this way. That link goes to a post at the Moving Poems forum, where I talk a little bit about the making of my first documentary-style videopoem, as well.
The topic of the poem was influenced by discussions at the new online community Writing Our Way Home, which celebrates “writing that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment.” Unfortunately, perhaps, the felt obligation to record things for later sharing or for record keeping distances oneself, prevents one from becoming fully engaged. If someday you see me abandon photography and videography altogether and just stick to writing, that will be the reason.