Ode to the Aperture

Aperture, open-shut
time frozen in space,
minute details embraced.
Butter-colored flower filaments
crowned by mustard-yellow pollen.
Violas waving in purple-lemony shades.
Mother smiling back at me,
weeks before she died.
Father sits, infant twin
one-hundred years ago.
All long gone, but with me still.

Written for Quadrill Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Merril asks us to use the word “embrace” (or a form of the word) in our poem of exactly 44 words, sans title. Pub opens at 3:00 Boston time. Drop by! All are welcome.

Aperture refers to the opening of a camera lens’s diaphragm through which light passes. Around 1880 photographers realized that aperture size affected depth of field.

I have old black and white framed photographs on our living room shelf (some of them shown above). They are family treasures.

We take photography for granted these days….clicking away with our iPhone, deleting what we don’t want. Storing the rest in cyberspace. I remember when I had to take a roll of film to the drug store; wait a week or two to pick up my photos; and then be so disappointed in the quality of so many. What a world of convenience we live in! And thank goodness for the photographers of olden days!

27 thoughts on “Ode to the Aperture

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) February 8, 2021 / 2:55 pm

    I do have quite a big collection of photographs that I have collected and kept from going through my mother’s belongings… some of them are more than 100 years old… I found glass plates that my grandfather had taken in the 1920’s … it will take time to go through and digitalize


  2. merrildsmith February 8, 2021 / 3:09 pm

    It’s so wonderful to have those old photographs. I have just a few old ones like that.
    You are right that we take it for granted that we snap a quick photo, but the flip side is that, I wish I did have some photos of moments in the past.


  3. sanaarizvi February 8, 2021 / 3:11 pm

    This is gorgeously rendered, Lillian! 💝 I too miss the days when we used to rely on the good old camera to take pictures. Albums were cherished and stored in a safe place. Nowadays, everything is digital. Sigh.


  4. msjadeli February 8, 2021 / 3:17 pm

    I can see why you cherish each of these photos, Lillian. I fear a day will come when hard copy photos are created no more. I have hundreds of photos that I’ve taken and inherited from my grandma and mom, but honestly, it’s been years since I took photos with a non-digital camera or printed out any photos. As long as we continue to have electricity we’re good for seeing the digital ones. If a day comes when we don’t we’ll have bigger worries on our minds. Nice poem.


  5. kim881 February 8, 2021 / 3:18 pm

    I love that you have written about the photographic embrace of the camera, Lill, and that you have shared such lovely images. I too have photographs of long-gone family members. Someone I knew in Ireland wouldn’t let me take a photograph because he believed the camera would capture his soul.


  6. navasolanature February 8, 2021 / 3:21 pm

    I love the poem and the photo, certainly important to sing the praises of the camera.


  7. Linda Lee Lyberg February 8, 2021 / 3:29 pm

    What a wonderful use of the word Lillian. And I love your photos!


  8. Ingrid February 8, 2021 / 3:38 pm

    Isn’t it magical how photos can capture such moments? I sense how close all of these photos are to your heart. Thank you for including them and sharing such warm memories in your quadrille!


  9. Lucy February 8, 2021 / 3:50 pm

    Such a beautiful and evocative poem! I can see how much these photos mean to you and this line hits so hard:

    “All long gone, but with me still.”

    Impactful, mesmerizing. Just the reality in a moment or glimpse of a photo that will always be there with you, that’s remarkable how you communicate it. As growing up with taking a quick photo on a phone, it has eluded me greatly the value, memory, and heart connected to photographs. I have a few from childhood, but I can still remember the excitement of waiting for the camera to flash and then waiting what seemed like forever for the white to clear away from the photo as it developed. 😀 Makes me remember those moments more along with the context of the photo.

    A beautiful poem. So heartfelt!


  10. Ron Rowland February 8, 2021 / 3:51 pm

    I love that you included the photos of what the aperture embraced


  11. Glenn A. Buttkus February 8, 2021 / 4:09 pm

    A fantastic display of images and words, Lil. I “embrace” the digital age, snapping thousands of images, culling the mistakes quickly. Photography was too expensive a hobby for me to pursue in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The Abject Muse February 8, 2021 / 4:41 pm

    Beautiful writing, Lillian. Love the imagery! Thank you for sharing your photos too. 🙂


  13. rothpoetry February 8, 2021 / 4:54 pm

    Beautiful Lillian! Both the camera and the mind’s apertures capture it all! All of our treasured memories there for review with one click!


  14. Beverly Crawford February 8, 2021 / 5:00 pm

    Our memories are as if the aperture opens and we’re privileged to view again treasured moments. I loved your poem, and the metaphjor of the camera lens.


  15. Nancy Jahnke February 8, 2021 / 5:09 pm

    I had no idea that your Mom was a twin! The pictures are your history! Love the one of your Dad in a bicycle! Must be a time of nostalgia for you! 💕

    Sent from my iPhone



  16. Ron. February 8, 2021 / 5:31 pm

    Oh, yeah; the best things never fade, whether we photograph them or not. Great work, Lillian!


  17. Xan February 8, 2021 / 6:33 pm

    The language of flowers.


  18. lynn__ February 8, 2021 / 6:43 pm

    LOVE the old photographs, Lillian…such precious memories!


  19. Helen Dehner February 8, 2021 / 7:19 pm

    Oh my, how incredibly beautiful is this poem .. the colors, the memories. Early in the pandemic shutdown I decided to go thru thousands of photos I had stored in boxes. I began the project in late March, ending in early May and NOW my photos are organized into groups that make sense, and there are now 50% fewer of them.


  20. -Eugenia February 8, 2021 / 9:10 pm

    Old photographs embrace priceless memories to be forever cherished. Beautiful piece, Lillian.


  21. Tricia Sankey February 8, 2021 / 10:21 pm

    I like that the camera along with your mind has captured so many “minute details,” it is fun to look back and pictures do freeze time in a way nothing else can! 💕


  22. Christine Bolton, Poetry for Healing February 8, 2021 / 11:00 pm

    There is something so wonderful about old photographs isn’t there? It’s as if you can feel the energy from a time long ago. Unfortunately you just never get that by looking at them on a screen. A lovely sentimental poem Lillian. I really enjoyed it and the photos are wonderful ☺️


  23. ben Alexander February 9, 2021 / 1:46 am

    Mother smiling back at me,
    weeks before she died.

    Wow, Lillian, every image in this poem was nothing short of powerful for me.



  24. pvcann February 9, 2021 / 10:02 am

    The embrace of life and loss so beautifully told through those precious photos.


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