Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Year of Sonnets: #1

Lately I've been reading about the work of photographer Minor White, a man who was, like me, a contemplative; who believed as I do that photography is more about what the world our cameras see has to teach us than about the workings of the camera itself.

And I've discovered that -- again like me -- he was an English major in college.  Apparently he set himself the task of writing 100 sonnets, either just prior to or immediately following graduation.  And because sonnets have always been a joy for me to write -- we used to kill time on the ferry inventing them with our kids -- I thought that might be a fun task to undertake.

I can't guarantee I'll write one every day, but I think over the next year I will attempt to write a hundred sonnets, each inspired by a photo and another famous sonnet.  So today I will begin with one of my favorites:  Shakespeare's "That time of year thou mayst in me behold."

That time of year you might observe in me --
November, gray and dreary, touched with frost --
the sun's light slanting low across the sea
on boats now docked, no longer on waves tossed.

Landlubbers now, we rarely drift from home,
and find our entertainments closer by,
rejoicing in the garden with its gnome,
the cat, the dog, the birds circling the sky,

And with our world grown smaller, I can see
how much there is to learn from simple sights:
the lace-edged glory of a tiny weed,
the dawn, the twinkling spark of Christmas lights...

As eyes grow dim, things seen become more dear:
visions to cherish as the end draws near.

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