Two years ago, I and others submitted photographs in response to a Dear Susan challenge entitled “Visual Haiku” (DS #841). Recently reviewing photographs I have taken over the past five years brought this challenge to mind. I wished to enhance the emotional impact of these photos through the addition of a haiku inspired by each.
In this series of photos, I added my words to the images using this simple poetic form. A haiku, or a photograph, derives its power from the same place as a short story. Both strike quickly. An extreme example of a short story that has been attributed to Earnest Hemmingway, is only six words: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn”. Such an impact is what these photographs and each associated haiku aspire to convey.
So now, I enlist your patience in viewing a few of the photographs I have captured over the years, their back stories, and the haikus I have written for each, which reflects the emotion I felt as I clicked the shutter.
I walked along the Pacific Ocean at Cannon Beach, Oregon some years back. There were two boys playing in the surf on their wake boards, mindless and free. One responded to me and my camera with two thumbs pointed to the sky. I thought: such unabashed joy! as I pushed the shutter.
time of my life
waves break onto shore
ripples carry me along
the time of my life
I happened upon the sight of a pair of shoes and some extinguished coals on the same beach where I took the previous photo. I photographed these items exactly as I found them. What could explain this sight? Young love perhaps?
walking on a beach,
you beside me, embers burn
And a third photo on the same beach: two people flanked byt hree empty chairs. I have three grown children who have moved on to make lives of their own. No two live in the same state. Perhaps this couple finds themselves in much the same situation.
you and me
the ocean beckons
children scattered far and wide
just you and me now
I visited a farmer’s market one Saturday morning and ran into this little fellow helping his parents sell produce. Many hands were extended, my wife’s hand holding a five-dollar bill. The lad looked a bit confused.
everyone wants one
a moment’s hesitation
I just can’t decide
I was walking down a Portland, Oregon street next to a playground. These four children appeared to be playing a very serious game. One was a little taller, clearly in charge.
orders from the general
intent they listen
My youngest grandson and I visited an aquarium at the Omaha, Nebraska Zoo several years ago. He was mesmerized by a parading school of fish. He appeared to be performing some sort of incantation for their benefit.
to swim in endless circles
I grant you freedom
My oldest daughter absolutely adores French bulldogs. She met this one on the streets of Portland. They acted like they had known one another forever.
a brief encounter
the two instantly bonding
friends in a moment
There is a trail that follows the banks of Morgan Creek, not too far from where I live in Chapel Hill, NC. It is a popular path for families to walk on weekends. These three children and their dog (at least I think it was theirs) breezed by me to a destination that it appeared the dog knew all too well.
we fly to keep up
she trots, her direction true
guiding our way home
Longwood Gardens lies just outside Philadelphia. My wife and I visited during their annual orchid show, quite a spectacular event. In the distance I saw a woman drawn to this spectacle in spite of being able to move only slowly.
such beauty abounds
so much to see before dark
first, time for a rest
Jim was my best friend over many decades. I took his picture of him in my backyard two weeks before he died, likely the last picture anyone ever took of him.
you’ll see me no more
passing through, just passing through
on the road of life
I offer this last photograph with no annotation.
dingy, quiet at dock
fading in faltering light
shadow of myself
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