Way of Seeing
(after John Berger, d. Jan. 2, 2017)
I can say my way of seeing depends on how
I say what I see, and for this, we unlearn
As much as we learn, to see again what is.
Time can stop. Space can collapse. We are
Subject to differing dimensions by virtue
Of how we do our seeing, the ways in which
We say what we see. The film is one way.
The photograph is another. The advertisement
Is still another. Context is everything. We imbue
The object of our gaze with meanings by the apparatus
That frames it. Nothing is settled, except for
The stillness and the silence of the image
Itself, which, whether genuine or replicated,
Is transmittable, even across space and time,
And returns us, to our surprise, to our naked eye.
Alan Botsford is author of the essay-dialogue-poetry collection Walt Whitman of Cosmic Folklore (Sage Hill Press 2010) as well as two poetry collections, mamaist: learning a new language (Minato no Hito 2002) and A Book of Shadows (Katydid Press 2003). He has for eleven years served as editor of Poetry Kanto, Japan’s oldest bi-lingual poetry journal (poetrykanto.com).
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