Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Street Photographs I & II in Twenty-One Syllables

or the past couple of months my friend Caroline has belonged to Street Photography Now, a project for amateur photographers which each week instructs its members to go outside and either photograph a particular scene or use their cameras in a particular way.

I have decided to take part too and write a twenty-one syllable response to the instructions. Each week I want to create a poem that has a strong visual, perhaps Imagist quality, what Barthes calls 'an explosion [which] makes a little star on the pane of the text' (Camera Lucida).

Last week's instructions were to get 'On your knees please... Take a picture from ground level.' This was my (slightly cheating) response:

This is the path the leaf took:
from bud, down,
stripped to vertebrae
and the push of my brush.

And this week the Street Photography chiefs said, 'Play photographic poker. Look for a pair, two pairs, or three of a kind.' Today I came up with this:

On the snow-slowed road
a car slushes past,
its headlights form yellow cones
flecked with shadows.

I'm enjoying myself hugely and hope post a few more small poetic explosions over the coming weeks.

***Today's initial began as a lightning flash, but a furry frost beast appeared instead, no doubt born of the snow.


  1. I'm a sucker for visual, own art (and Imagist) powered work and really like 'This is the path...'
    Has a Dylan Thomas 'green fuse' feel? Fabulous.

  2. Thanks Sandy. Yes, I see what you mean now about D.T., though he often seems to rumble away behind my writing. Isn't it great that we have these ghost voices who speak within and behind our work!

    S x

  3. Gosh 'This is the path...' is grand. A perfect and perfectly beautiful snapshot of a poem. And I think I saw your frosty fellow while out walking the terrier this afternoon!