Month: September 2021

Stumbling Upon Little Gidding

© Matthew Word Bain

the more familiar a landscape
the more drifting through it feels
like turning to the first page of a book
you have just finished reading

foraging for photographs
is like foraging for nuts and berries
supply is limited by time and by location
and can be exhausted until renewed

with repetition, features that stand out
exert a stronger gravitational pull
quiet corners are missed
as novelty gives way to habit

I’ve been casting about for ways
to disrupt this pattern:
observing on a smaller scale
focusing on the way the light changes
shuffling direction and sequence
in what begins to feel
unkind both to habit and
to novelty as if I were
squeezing novelty
from habit like water
from a dry cloth

perhaps habit
itself is transformed
eventually…by a process
of maturation in which a stage
is reached when the whole thing shifts
and, as I have not ceased from exploration
novelty arises as I arrive where I began
“And know the place for the first time
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning.”

Quicksilver Daydreams

© Matthew Word Bain

looking for all the world
like a forgotten door
in an abandoned wall
opportunity doesn’t knock
so much as it beckons
and I find myself
absorbed in reflection

I am scrying in liquid silver
ensconced in Mercury’s mirror
looking into the Looking-Glass House
and finding myself within it
where clarity is found
in vision skewed
and novelty irrupts
in the face of the familiar

this closed door opens
another world
as new ways
of seeing
old realities
fling off the film
of old frame rates
and refresh the screen
and the viewer at once

Devotion

© Matthew Word Bain

returning to this scene is, I have learned, unavoidable
when I am in the neighborhood and out on a forage
as drowsy Apollo suffuses the scene with a gentle glow
I make my way like a dutiful pilgrim to a shrine
with my offering of reverent attention
and my desire to be myself transfigured
by this revelation of beauty
in a scene so purely mundane
now made luminous

Lit From Above

© Matthew Word Bain

light oblique
filtered and reflected
above all, received
within, without
green in the sunlight
violet in shadow
balance and symmetry
colored by variation
what simple technology
sand and pigment
melted together
joined by lead
illuminated
by fusion

Staff Meeting

© Matthew Word Bain

from this many notes
how many scales
(falling from my eyes)
over which patterns repeat
framed amidst oddly cleft staves
fractal forms scale the heights

Dance With Me

© Matthew Word Bain

old buildings like this one
with generations of character
and stories in every stone
what is it they conjure up in me?

something stirs when the setting sun
throws warm light on gray stone
and the shadows slowly rise
from the dark asphalt

a dance move
that never gets old
no matter how familiar
you think it might be

Wreath

© Matthew Word Bain

at one time this must have been a home
it’s built like a home, and is decorated as such
but now, between the padlock on the door
and the bricks stacked on the porch
a visitor stands to be confused
by this strange juxtaposition
of tending and of neglect
in the same setting

Fantasy Sunset

© Matthew Word Bain

warm sun and cool shadow
a row of windows, mostly the same
it must be the weekend, or at least a pandemic
these days, parking is easy to find