Camera’s eye catches delicate flowers,
Views the graceful of bee in pollination flight,
Spies the brushing of pollen – laden stamens,
Holds in time a scene most tranquil;
Yet does not discover the roadside trash,
The flower’s home amid mud and mire;
Does not smell the exhaust raining acid
On delicate flowers.
Camera’s eye gazes upon a child framed in a window,
Beholds the easy lean of chin in palm, elbow on windowsill,
Wide eyes looking out at the world in wonder,
Knows the innocent child – wisdom;
Yet ignores the window’s building,
Screens out the ghetto of rotted houses and dreams;
Undetected is the garbage – urine hallway
As the child sits framed in a window.
Camera’s eye seeks the tall dignified pine,
Witnesses early – morning dew set needles sparkling,
Inspects wildlife in arbor home,
Beholds sunlight filtering to needle – soft ground;
Yet neglects the smell and diesel smoke machines
Raping and gouging the earth of its riches;
Does not display the bulldozer’s approach,
Turns away as the stately pine topples.
I am the camera’s eye
Seeing what pains me not,
Grasping flowers from mud and mire,
Rescuing the child from a rotted tenement,
Preserving the pine in dignified splendor;
All safe and secure in a scrapbook world
As the real world lays waste.
I distinctly remember the birth of this poem. I once had a job in The Bronx while living in Newark . I would drive the New Jersey Turnpike every day, through the meadow-lands and onward to New York . The meadow-lands are not a particularly beautiful area. However, during my journey, I would pass a small dock with a moored sailboat. I began to realize that if I focused on only that gentle area, surrounded by saw grass, I could block out the rest of the world surrounding the scene.
I could pick out points of beauty from a world of corruption. This is the poem that resulted.