Monday, September 19, 2011

Photograph: Homesteader, Pie Town, New Mexico, 1940

What is it

That makes this man, knife in hand
Getting ready to cut a head of cabbage
More than the sum of his parts?

I don’t pretend to know the full answer
But I can see that look
Of reverence towards that lowly
Head he is about to sacrifice
Gives me part of it:

Here is a man thankful
For all the simple things
That make up a life, even when
He has to part with them.


  1. Beautiful this.

    Maybe it's the knowledge of the inevitability of the parting that, in such worlds as the one pictured, if not also in our own, always endows the moment with gratitude that we were ever here, with some of our parts still intact, Vassilis.

    The lowly head puts me in mind of the lowing of the heifer about to be sacrificed, suspended forever on the surface of the urn, into which we're all going.

    But in fact he probably came down from Oklahoma or Kansas, or maybe one of the Depression towns along the Ohio... every sign and form of reverence has a hidden history.

    But the signs, these days, are harder to find and more to difficult to read. Said the old man.

    Many, many thanks, my friend.

    (WV, believe it or not = "phillect". Last time here I got "ablect". Somebody somewhere must be reading or putting up some signs along this stony mountain road... and on another recent visit I got "shagme".)

  2. What a generous thoughtful response but I should be the one doing the thanking--without your posting this miraculous photograph, how could I have written the poem? Thanks again, Tom.


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