Haiku, well, an English version of Haiku, and other tiny poems are what I do when I missed my chance at a photo. Didn’t have the camera, couldn’t get to it fast enough, couldn’t get the right angle, lost the light, or sometimes an intentional miss. Yes. I have moments when a scene strikes me as so perfect, I don’t want to miss even a nanosecond of it or be distracted from it, or have a filter of a phone or camera intrude. I hope my memory serves me on this and I believe it does. I recall a set of boulders weathered and peeling like onions, swirls of magenta, blue-gray. I was on the back of the Moto Guzzi Spada. We were on our way to Texas in 1982. Although I like riding solo, two up on that bike was a thrill and it provided me with free hands and attention to snap photos all the way down on my, still favorite camera ever, trusty Olympus OM-1. I had a super fast lens on it. Anyway. There was something about the field of these boulders, I knew I could not capture with a photo. So I looked at them as long as I could. Forty-one years later I still remember them vividly. If I had the talent, I could paint them from memory and do them justice.
Giant onion stones Peeling, swirling in the sun Magenta red, blue
Instead, I preserve the memories in my head, but also, sometimes, I use words to preserve the feeling a scene gave me. It often doesn’t take much to trigger the feeling, the visual memory. Sometimes all it takes is seventeen syllables in three lines of five, seven, and five.