From A Photographer's War Journal

Poem By Joanne Monte

It’s the work of the lens,
to focus its gaze and find the proper angle
for impact, clarity; to show from its own perspective
the body of a child wrapped in a garment
of pleated flesh, held gently in his mother’s arms
as though she could lift him out of it and run
from the scourge of that landscape,
the lash of its tongue, its voice. To explain
that image, a split-second paralysis
that is forever fixed in the mind, forever mute,
itself a bystander hovering over the children
torn from the hand so tightly held,
maimed and killed in the presence of their mothers.

There is the sense of one moment,
immortal, held still in one shot, one frame;
a strobe of light that is visible, and yet invisible:
warlords, militant machinery, the blazing turrets
of an uprising when well-fed armies tear
into the city like hungry vagrants
tearing the gutters for meat. There’s an old wagon,
its wheels turned inward, rocking slowly
at each stop to pile a sackcloth of children’s bones
into a conveyance of silent darkness. And yet
it’s always the negative we hold to the light for clarity,
for meaning, as if we’ve missed some point of view,
as if in that frame transposing light and dark,
there’s an image we hope to see more clearly.

Comments about From A Photographer's War Journal

t’s always the negative we hold to the light for clarity, for meaning, as if we’ve missed some point of view, as if in that frame transposing light and dark, there’s an image we hope to see more clearly- - - - - - - - - - - power in every detail and word in this heart wrenching work by a blazing talent unnoticed in PH for some reason
Life is a picture, its beauty is captured depending on how we discern it and take its view on our personal lens! Thanks.


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Other poems of MONTE

Eight-Fifteen

(a.m.) the city
was split by lightning,
stripped down to bone, and tortured,
its flesh lashed by flames…

River

The river below us:
nitrogen, phosphorous, petrochemicals,
dioxin from the paper mills,
a rich buffet of metals digested

Displacement

Entering the garden,
I notice the rhododendron,
the platinum pearl, that had displaced
the unwanted vines of bittersweet

At A Sidewalk Cafe

An ordinary morning―
awakening to nothing but daylight
prodding through the eggshell-tinted blinds
and the warm quilts to be tossed back

The Dark Secret Borne

in a village
soldiers have hunted,
borne behind doors
that have been kicked open

Letters From Women Given Up For Adoption At Birth

I

This morning I thought how easy
it must have been for you