Friday, January 16, 2009

Poetry Friday -- Part For the Whole

by Robert Francis

When others run to windows or out of doors
To catch the sunset whole, he is content
With any segment anywhere he sits.

From segment, fragment, he can reconstruct
The whole, prefers to reconstruct the whole,
As if to say, I see more seeing less.

A window to the east will serve as well
As window to the west, for eastern sky
Echoes the western sky.

(go to the Poetry Foundation to read the rest...)

I took this picture of last night's sunset. My classroom window to the east showed me the sunset first, reflected in the snow on the rooftops and in the windows of the condos that stand directly across from the school's side yard. I grabbed my camera and ran to the other side of the building. As I stood and watched the sun set, this column of light developed and magnified and intensified.

In this particular case, I would have to say that the whole was greater than the parts. The view to the east had nuthin' compared to the view to the west. I never could have reconstructed that column of light.

Later last night, when I was checking the day's Tweets, I followed Cloudscome's link to her photo blog and found that she had taken almost the exact same picture.

In this particular case, I would have to say that the parts are greater than the whole, or at least equal to it: two pairs of eyes (probably more than two pairs, how can we ever know?) seeing the same sunset in two different places, cameras ready and aimed, capturing and recording one moment of our planet's great beauty.

Now the really amazing part. I found this poem by searching "frost on the window" because it is so cold here (windchills of 20 or more degrees below zero) that the typical condensation on the inside of the kitchen window is frozen. On the INSIDE of the window. I intended for my Poetry Friday entry to be about the cold. But I guess that sunset wasn't quite done with me. I leave you to ponder whether that is the whole speaking directly to one of the parts through poetry.

The round up today is at Karen Edmisten's "Blog With a Shockingly Clever Title."


  1. That is one gorgeous column of fire. IMHO, you need both the east and west windows---both the sunrise and the sunset---to enjoy the fullness of the day. I usually prefer the sunrise, because it feels so secret and more personal, but this sunset really is spectacular in its unrestrained beauty.

  2. That is an astoundingly beautiful picture. I wouldn't have moved for a long time if I'd had that view.

  3. Anonymous8:24 AM

    Lovely. Thank you for sharing the poem and the picture.

  4. Anonymous8:38 AM

    What a stunning photo and the poem fits so well. And to think someone else(cloudscome)captured the moment, amazing.

  5. Mary lee,

    That's a gorgeous photograph! Like your poetry selection by Robert Francis.

    It's freezing here in Massachusetts, too! Thank heavens for central heating.

  6. It is so awesome that you caught that moment in the midst of such crazy weather around here. I mean seriously, -13 (real temperature) is ridiculous!

  7. This whole post is amazing -- from the photo to the poem to cloudscome taking the same picture. Synchronicity!

    Someone tell the weatherman to turn up the heat! It's 13 degrees here.

  8. Oh I love that poem! "The old obliquity of art" -- I love that. Thanks for introducing me to this poem. Good food-for-thought.


  9. Anonymous12:39 PM

    What a stunning photograph. I think I would have been frozen just standing there hoping it would last.

  10. Just for the record...I took the photo through the window at school. I didn't stand and watch the sunset out in the sub-zero weather!!!

  11. Amazing picture. It was a moment you were meant to see and record.

  12. Wow, wow, wow!

    Come visit us in Colorado-- it's supposed to be sixty degrees all weekend! We have great sunsets, but I don't know that they are quite that spectacular!

  13. Mary Lee this is fabulous!! I often see the Eastern sky from my bedroom window and then run up to the attic and stick my head out the window to see the Western sky, turn my head to the East, back and forth. I am fascinated by the reflection/echo.

    Also, the sun was really doing its thing that day. I saw another 365 photographer on Twitter dmcordell posted: Her photo on flicker of sundogs.

    I was actually standing outside in the parking lot at school, trying to rush Buddy into the car until I saw the sun. I whipped out my camera and stood entranced. He started saying, "oh MOM! Come on! Not the camera again!" LOL

    I love that we saw the sunset and photographed it together thousands of miles apart. FUN! I love that we posted it and that you found a poem that fit perfectly with the whole story, from cold to sunset to connections. Too Cool!

  14. Beautiful poem, beautiful photo: images for the mind and the eye.

  15. Stunning photo! Wow.

    I'm a believer in soaking up the whole, when possible. Immersing in it. But focusing thoughts is often best done (for me, anyway) on a tiny part.

    Kind of like a poem is a condensation of a view or an experience. I still want the experience, but a poem about someone else's experience lets me almost experience it, too.

    What a tongue-twister. I don't even know if I'm making sense!


Comment moderation is turned on.