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3/17/12: Words and Images Continued

Words and images can have a tangible or an intangible connection. What (of course) links them is the mind of the reader/viewer. I’m most interested in intangible connections—the juxtaposition of the images in poetry and photography.

It’s probably a good thing that my photography teacher has little interest in the stories surrounding the photos. Maybe after teaching 64 classes he’s heard it all. And admittedly, how many stories about the cute grandkid does one want to hear? Or maybe he’s an almost exclusively visual person. Or maybe for him the two combined are a form of sensory overload. Dunno.

Raudi's Mane
Raudi's Mane

This is good for me because I’m having to focus on producing a photograph that can stand on its own. Again, the relationship between what’s written and what’s photographed should be synergistic.

I came across this poem, Equine Aubade” by Bob Hicok in the March 19, 2012 New Yorker. There have been a few times in my life in which some poems have stopped me dead in my tracks. I have read and reread these poems – and every time, something new comes to mind. Jane Kenyon’s “Otherwise,” Mark Strand’s “Moving to Keep Things Whole,” Marvin Bell’s “Gemwood” are three good examples.

An aubade is a morning love song, or a song in part about lovers separating at dawn. It’s also considered to be a song or instrumental composition concerning, evoking, or accompanying daybreak.

Equine Aubade
Consider how smart
Smart people say horses are.
I love waking
to a field of such intelligence, only pigs
more likely to go to M.I.T., only dew
harboring the thoughts of clouds
upon the grass and baptizing
the cuffs of my pants as I walk
among the odes. Long nose
of a thousand arrows
bound together in breath, each flank
a continent of speed, this one
quiet as a whisper
into a sock, this one
twitchy as a sleeper
dreaming the kite string
to her shadow has snapped. Old now
to my ways, they let me touch
their voltage, the bustling waves
of atoms conscripted to their form, this one
even allowing my ear to her side
so I can elope
with her heartbeat. I often feel
everything is applause, an apparition
of the surprise of existence,
that the substances of life
aren’t copper and lithium, fire
and earth, but the grasp
and its equivalents, as when rain falls
on a hot road
and summer sighs. Or the poem
feels that, it’s hard to tell
my mind from the poem’s, the real
from the lauded horses, there’s always
this dualism, this alienation
of word from word
or time from thrust
or window from greed, I am eager
to ride a horse out of the field, out of language,
out of the country
and to the sea, where whichever one of us
is the better swimmer
will take over, in case you see a horse
on the back of a man
from where you are
on your boat, looking at the horizon
in the late and dawdling company
of a small but faithful star.
                                     --Bob Hicok

This poem is associative–each line and image stands alone – in its entirety, this is an aubade, a love poem to the day. Really, no photo is needed.

But now, after giving the matter some thought, I’ve paired an image of Raudi’s mane with this poem. I could easily have paired other images with it, and maybe attempted to make an even more intangible connection. But this is the image that repeatedly came to mind.

Next: 100. 3/18/12: The Image AND the Word