Monday, November 21, 2005

For an Album

For an Album
By Adrienne Rich

Our story isn't a file of photographs
faces laughing under green leaves
or snowlit doorways, on the verge of driving
away, our story is not about women
victoriously perched on the one
sunny day of the conference,
nor lovers displaying love:

Our story is of moments
when even slow motion moved too fast
for the shutter of the camera:
words that blew our lives apart, like so,
eyes that cut and caught each other,
mime of the operating room
where gas and knives quote each other,
moments before the telephone
starts ringing: our story is
how still we stood,
how fast.

After glancing through the book several times in order to find a good poem for this week I came across this one. By the first line I was hooked, not because it was so vivid but because it took one of my loves, photography and turned it into a story of memories. However it not wanted to be a cliche took the idea of photographs capturing memories into a story in which a photograph wasn't sufficient enough. The picture could not capture the emotion or the moment for the poet. It goes no explaining how in fact that a camera was too fast, over looked too many details of the moment that the poet is trying to capture and keep. Don't get me wrong, this poem is confusing to me because when reading it I get a sense of loss of tragedy. The knives and gas remind me of a cold hospital emergency room and the phone call almost of tragic unexpected news. I feel when the poets says that the camera was too slow, I feel that in the time that the person received such news that the world around them stopped. Time stood still, about to change their lives forever when time resumed.

2 Comments:

Blogger Matt said...

I also like photography, but this poem is criticizing photographs for only capturing the bright and happy aspects of life, and missing the more complex moments of disparity.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Pinoy Teacher in Memphis said...

I like this poem very much. It is a perfectly written poem that tells of the real story of a relationship... It is not those outward images that the world see nor preserved by photographs. It is the what happens between the two lovers when they are alone... notice how the word moments act like quotation marks...

moments when even slow motion moved too fast
for the shutter of the camera:
words that blew our lives apart, like so,
eyes that cut and caught each other,
mime of the operating room
where gas and knives quote each other
moments

before the telephone rings... or before the outside world intrudes into their lives.

That is the real story... how despite the hurts and pains that lovers inflict on each other, they stood still, they stood fast... affirming love.

5:42 AM  

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