A Poet’s Lullabye

Carol wrote a lovely poem entitled, “A Poet’s Lullabye.” When I set to work culling through
my hundreds of photographs to find ones that would illustrate or enhance this poem I was faced with the question — do I try to literally illustrate — or post an image that will hopefully be universal enough to ‘evoke’ a response from a viewer.

In some instances the answer was simple — she writes about a carillon, I choose a picture of a bell. She writes about a cello — I post a picture of a cello. But take a phrase such as ‘all is well’ or its opposite — ‘we know that all is not well.’ What choice then?

For those of you who have spent a lifetime as visual artists I can imagine you have already spent endless hours pondering this question. But I have spent more of my life as a wordsmith and musician than as a visual artist and I have only begun to puzzle over this. For ‘all is not well’ I chose to use a globe, with snow on it.

Part of a conference on Global Warming in Copenhagen.

Part of a conference on Global Warming in Copenhagen.

This globe was part of a series of globes displayed around the city of Copenhagen during a Global Warming conference in 2009 (0r 2010?) illustrating various issues affecting the climate such as overpopulation and use of fossil fuels. When I took this picture it had just recently snowed and I liked the juxtaposition of the snow with the globe showing global warming. Even then we were all starting to realize ‘global warming’ would better be described as ‘climate change.’ This is certainly an undeniable fact of life now and proof positive that ‘all is not well.’ But in choosing it I wonder, does the presence of the snow undermine the ‘all is not well’ feeling I meant to evoke? Does it make it feel playful instead?

I also chose an image of a scar on a tree that looked to me like a raw wound. I would never invade the suffering of a human being to photograph a weeping physical wound. I chose the tree “wound” instead in hopes of it standing in for ‘all is not well.’

I was lucky to have in my portfolio this lovely cherub blissfully asleep to illustrate the desired
result of the poet’s lullabye — a sleeping child. I took it in front of a store on a charming street
in Salzburg, Austria.

Cherub sleeping in Salzburg, Austria

Here is the link to see the entire YouTube of “A Poet’s Lullabye.”


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