Monday, December 13, 2010

Here I Am

Pictures by Tim Page from the Vietnam war that formed me.

Tim Page is a photographer, journalist, and author of Page after Page: Memoirs of a War-Torn Photographer; Tim Page's Nam; and the coeditor of Requiem: By the Photographers Who Died in Indochina and Vietnam, the 1997 winner of the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award, the International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Best Publication, and other awards. He resides in Kent, England.

In 1965, Page began taking photographs of the border conflicts in Cambodia and Vietnam. Eventually, he became one of the most notorious combat photographers and renowned for the images he captured. In the movie epic "Apocalypse Now", the dope smoking, crazed photographer played by Dennis Hopper at the top of the river is said to be based on Page. Page's friend Michael Herr created the role and also wrote the well-known book "Dispatches", where Page is one of the main characters. Tim Page was wounded several times whilst working in Vietnam.

"Today you will say things you can predict and other things you could never imagine this minute. Don't reject them, let them come through when they're ready, don't think you can plan it all out. This day will never, no matter how long you live, happen again. It is exquisitely singular. It will never again be exactly repeated."
- Naomi Shihab Nye

Wiki says: Naomi Shihab Nye (born March 12, 1952) is a poet, songwriter, and novelist. She was born to a Palestinian father and American mother. Although she regards herself as a "wandering poet", she refers to San Antonio as her home.


By Naomi Shihab Nye

Because the eye has a short shadow or
it is hard to see over heads in the crowd?

If everyone else seems smarter
but you need your own secret?

If mystery was never your friend?

If one way could satisfy
the infinite heart of the heavens?

If you liked the king on his golden throne
more than the villagers carrying baskets of lemons?

If you wanted to be sure
his guards would admit you to the party?

The boy with the broken pencil
scrapes his little knife against the lead
turning and turning it as a point
emerges from the wood again

If he would believe his life is like that
he would not follow his father into war

That's Naomi. I don't know how to make this blog indent as Naomi did, so I took the last verses to the center and italicized them myself. I think it works okay. Now I will write my response.

Here I am

I sit in corners,
try invisibility
on for pensive size,
wondering if I
must fight on this day or that,
or if it ever
will work, this sitting
in the world's pensive corners.
I have small stature,
tarnished purity,
and frayed integrity
Lord! I do worry.

Once I ran away,
all the way to Chittagong
where red crabs look past
you and crawl across
your sleeping form on the beach.
The monsoon will come
next June 5th. I will not wait
that long to get up
or whisper my love,
and I will not go to war.
I will not go there.

December 13, 2010 6:58 PM


  1. Ghosts of the past, that never seem to go away. Like the post.

  2. It's been a long time since those days we thought would never end.

  3. that which ought not be forgotten, isn't.

  4. Not forgotten by some of us. We will all pass all too soon. Then what? The Holocaust deniers are as strong as ever but the Vets and victims who witnessed the camps directly are all dying or dead now.

  5. hmmm maybe that was long ago and hopefully it will never happen again. On my travels i met lots of people, 100% of them where beautiful people. But I did see some things that make me question.... I will write about it.
    I like Naomi's poem very much. It says to me how we are all just trying to sharpen our pencil, to be the best we can be, but somehow....
    :) i don't know
    i know in my heart, but often not in words, and then i often forget what's in my heart.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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