7 days, poems & photography. Oct 5

7 days, poems & photography. Oct 5

Solastaglia, Valla Beach  


This is the perfect life, the lorikeets are rummaging

through our melaleucas , black Cockatoos wheeling

back and forth play with the wind. I take a few shots.

It’s a little overcast but as I type this the sea rolls

stubbornly blue and the forest dances with the Easterly.

It’s as perfect as perfect probably gets.

So why am I thinking of Hugh MacDiarmid on Whalsay?

A politically depressed hermit hating the English, scouring

a dictionary of geology to write ‘On A Raised Beach’ (in English)

in the remote north. From a lithic litany attention floats onto lichen,

trees couldn’t grow on that peaty Shetland isle loaded with wind.


It’s Skin vs Voice vs Rock – howling
and benath the surface silent suffering.


Yesterday I contacted Council yet again, concerned that
birds, insects and whole habitats are slipping through our fingers.

I notice mine as I snatch a typo, splendid dirt gnawing my nails.

What is oor life that we should prize’t abune
Lichen’s or slug’s.                                                      
Hugh MacDiarmid, Whuchulls, 1933


Photographs are read as intentional and as prone to accidental details, timing, the unexpected. The world is out of our control.  ‘Barthes emphasizes what he calls the ‘punctum,’ the stray, pointed detail that “pricks” or “wounds” him. These details (a necklace, bad teeth, folded arms, dirt streets) are accidental, uncoded, nameless features that open the photograph metonymically onto a contingent realm of memory and subjectivity.’ W.J.T. Mitchell, ‘The Photographic Essay: Four Case Studies’, Picturing Theory, University of Chicago Press, 1994, p303.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button