It’s always amazing to me how looking at a painting or piece of sculpture or photograph or landscape can touch our feelings and be an inspiration. That mysterious, unique process seems to hide inside each of us.
Case in point … a few days ago, I received a photo from a friend and the image wouldn’t leave my mind. It stayed with me while I shopped at Costco, while I read my shopping list. Then words began crowding into my head and not just a few. The urge to get them written down became so strong, I said to my husband, “We need paper towels,” and left him standing by the cart.
While he stared after me, I hurried through the nearest checkout lane and into Costco’s fine dining section. I sat amid the tempting smells of hot dogs and pizza. I pulled a little notebook out of my purse and started writing, oblivious to the conversations buzzing around me.
The words that emerged at that moment had to be sifted, erased, crossed out, and rethought numerous times. But they kept talking, urging me to reach the feelings generated by the image. I knew it wouldn’t be a story but a small slice of time, a poetic glimpse. The process was exciting because it was so fluid and immediate and special. The result …
The man sits, resting the weight of his ninety years.
Before him, safe in her mother’s arms,
a baby girl watches, eyes bright with life’s wonder.
He touches her tiny feet,
pink and soft with inexperience.
Soon you’ll take small steps, then big ones.
Bumps along the path won’t stop you.
Each push of your
little shoes against my hands
shows me you are strong.
The man looks into the baby’s eyes.
She wiggles her toes, kicks a small kick.
Small perfect fingers stretch and curl
against her body. As he smiles, she returns his smile.
He feels the pulsing of life’s renewal.
Do you feel it too, sweet little one,
filling the space between us?
From my heart, I wish you joy,
I wish you health,
I wish you fulfillment . . .
I wish you a life song filled with beauty.
I wonder what pictures are hiding in your albums, waiting in your camera? Touching your own moments and memories? Waiting to be written about?
Photo by Reg Centeno