Mapped @ Image Mapper

Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm Not a Poet, But...

Last summer, I wrote the following poem to describe my feelings about raising my son as a single parent. Now for the record, I love parenting, but the one thing I sometimes struggle with is the fact that I only get to be with my son for half of his life. We go full throttle during that half, mind you, but still, it's only 178 days out of 356.

Here's the poem:

Still Life

a life story, collected digitally,
photo by photo, revealing memories,
showing the journey of a child,
from then to now.

in my mind i still hear the click,
the button press that captured each image.
the initial click, my son’s first hour of life,
my eyes blurred by tears, my fingers wet.
the camera ignores my emotion.
the photo is sharp, clear, precise.

more photos, telling a story, weaving a life,
a history of childhood,
each picture displayed five seconds,
the computer mechanically shifting, image by image,
visual snapshots of a child moving through time.

in year three, the photos diverge. the change is captured in a single picture,
my son frowning, alone, sitting in a chair,
surrounded by the empty space of a new apartment.
from this point forward, my computer shows only half the story.
somewhere else, somewhere that is not here,
his mom’s collection of images hides,
a different history of the same child.

this awareness, this knowledge of separate sets of memorable moments, haunts me.
one boy, his path forked by adult decisions,
leading two distinct lives in two unjoined photo collections,
the two histories intertwining only for holidays, graduations, weddings.

yet i also take comfort in the missing fifty percent of images.
my son’s living not one adventure, but two, each with its own
challenges and hurdles and achievements.
he can draw on the strengths of each family, learning things from one home
he can’t learn in the other. the father in me latches onto this idea, this thought that, in the end,
a split household will not weaken, but will strengthen my son.

as the last photos slide by,
the images catching up to the now, to the present day,
i realize my pictures weave a complete tapestry of events after all.
true, i may have only captured fifty percent of my son’s life.

but i’ve captured one hundred percent of our life together.

-- Scott Niven, writtten July 29th, 2010

I'm heading to the beach tonight, and I'll be there all week, so you probably won't hear much from me until I return. I may post my shiny new word counter for my novel, and I may post another end-of-the-month social media report, but that's about it.

Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day Weekend!  :-)