The clearing beckons and you enter,
The butterflies between the trees flitting
Over the translucent stream below.
The momentary beauty captures your attention,
Stays your breathing, and you pause–
To reflect on a course of action,
Rummage in your backpack
No time to lose, your movements quick and frenzied,
Hoping you’ll find what you are looking for.
Triumphantly, you place an artificial lens
Between you and the scene before your eyes,
And try to focus
And frame an experience
As it shifts within its own rhythm,
Ever changing and alive.
Hurrying, you zoom in
On a view you just can’t miss.
Worrying over whether you are too close,
You get farther away for a better view.
And the shutter snaps open in a flash,
And the digital photograph
Pins the butterflies in their places
While the stream, in mid ripple,
Ever eludes to change.
With the moment safely captured ,
You can finally sit tranquilly,
Observing in silence.
But now, as you take in your surroundings,
You find nothing to stay your gaze
Save for the landscape in its subtle rearranging.
The bright screen displays your memory,
The one whose occurrence you never fully attended,
So feeling at a loss,
You remain exactly where you are,
Wondering at what you never took in,
And hoping for another opportunity.
In that instant I see you there,
Bordered by the portrait of the trees.
How strange for you to find
Frozen frames of living beautiful,
Moved by depictions of the no longer moving.
And if you’d turn your eyes on the water,
You’d notice how your own reflection
Resembles the appearance of a life stilled,
Impermanence just beneath the surface.
I am only passing through,
Noticing how everything happens to unfold.
Each experience changes with remembering,
No more defined within one image as I am,
Just as fleeting as the lives that create it,
And it is only when life ends that it is still.
2 thoughts on “Still Life”
What a beautiful observation Éilis! You certainly have a point.
Thanks, Ali! 🙂