Friday, May 10, 2013

Poetry Friday -- Vacation

Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Freddie Boy

by Wendell Berry

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation.

It's not that I'm already thinking about vacation (well, maybe a little). I went looking for Wendell Berry to share and I found this reminder to be in the moment, really BE in the moment.

Anastasia has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at her poetry blog.

(edited to add today's cartoon from Hugh MacLeod at Gaping Void, which seems to fit nicely with Mr. Berry's poem...)


  1. Just sad to read, Mary Lee. It's one thing we focus on at school when we take students on their trips, to 'be', to 'see'. Wonderful new poem to me! Thank you!

  2. This one was new to me too -- wow, very poignant. Makes me think how these days everyone is more concerned about tweeting/FBing what they're doing than actually doing it.

  3. Ditto what Linda and Jama said, Mary Lee. Our family just got smart phones this week and I am interested to see how the kids adjust -- I hope they will get the best parts out of them and not let them take over!

  4. Thanks for introducing this poem, Mary Lee. Really thought provoking--we do have a compulsion to record everything. (But there is the flip side--sometimes photographing can make you see more closely.)

  5. Thank you for sharing this poem, Mary Lee. This is something I try to stay conscious about since I love to take photographs...trying to preserve every beautiful moment I witness at times! I realize how that takes me out of the moment, and try to control my urge to want to document everything.

    With Steps and Staircases, my goal is to share images that highlight what I think we should pay attention to and cultivate--I'm hoping my daily practice will help me to live more consciously and intentionally. Thank you for your praise in the comment section last month.

    Just to share another space that uses photography in an intentional, reflective way, have you ever visited the Habit Blog? I love the space--the pictures and thoughts. I have a feeling you would like the space, as well. You can find it here: Every day has at least one thought and/or photograph that speaks to me.

    I will be sharing your Wendell Berry poem with my friends for further discussion. Thanks, again!


    1. I DO love Habit Blog! Thank you, THANK you for sharing it!!

      Same as with yours, it is filled with beautiful images and just a few words to give us a glimpse from behind the camera, but not so much that we can't go in our own direction, too.

  6. Anonymous2:10 PM

    It's true: We're often so busy recording the comings and goings of our lives that we are absent to what is actually happening. Thanks for sharing this poignant poem today.

  7. Oh, this rings so true for so many, Mary Lee. One thing I like to think about is how you need to be and notice and then return to photograph what stands out. (When possible..) And what happens to all those photos and videos anyway? I didn't know this one either.
    Janet F.

  8. I found that when I came back to Haiti after the earthquake, I took a lot of pictures. It helped remove me emotionally from what I was seeing, somehow, if I took a picture of it or wrote about it, instead of just experiencing it. Just another example of how recording it can keep us from being fully there. I do like having photos to help me remember later, though. I guess the key in this, as in everything else, is balance.

  9. I think the solution is to have someone else photographing! I need a camera crew! But seriously, it is a problem. I find myself NOT taking pictures then and regretting that, too!

  10. Great poem , Mary Lee. Sometimes I feel that the entire world seems to view events through their smart sad to see in the young, especially.

  11. Always the dilemma, to live the moment or capture it. My husband was against the video camera so we never bought one. Now that my girls are grown, I sometimes wish we could watch a video of them. Memories are so sketchy.
    I am beginning to feel the need for a vacation. Summer will be here soon.

  12. Ouch. I don't think he could make it any clearer.

  13. I stopped taking pictures a few years ago after reading something similar. The problem now is I don't have any pictures! Surely there is middle ground somewhere.

  14. Totally agree with you. The poem and the cartoon are perfect together!

  15. Hi again, ML! (I commented early this morning but maybe forgot the captcha.) I have always liked this is a powerful reminder. Sometimes I find the written/notebooked memory holds more than the image. I wish you a happy happy weekend!

  16. I think Ruth nailed it:

    It's always about BALANCE. (True for the poem she shared this week, too, come to think of it...)

  17. This is such a thoughtful piece. I am grateful for the photographs that we have taken, but where do you cross the line of not being in the moment? I need a number to let me know. Is that too much to ask?

  18. I could sure use a vacation! Camera or not! Although, I really like having a camera with me, but I'm not one for taking hours framing shots and doing all that kind of stuff. I'm a snapshot taker.

  19. Hi, Mary Lee. Wow -- I just read Dori's post. Time and relativity seemed to be a theme this week. I have a friend who doesn't like to photograph her children's special events because it takes her out of experiencing the moment. Berry's poem addresses that issue so beautifully. I loved his use of repetition.

  20. Finally getting a chance to catch up on some reading. Thanks for the Berry poem, Mary Lee. A reminder to me to observe and preserve with the soul, however that happens at that moment. Also, love the cartoon-y saying: "the rest of life is either past or uncertain." Indeed. Thanks!


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