I could smell the red clay – dry, pleasantly

Natural, unpleasantly sweet like hay

In the field – holding the flattened grass tight

To the cracked earth with increasing resolve,

      As the heat swelled in the days where evening

Seemed to never come. Walking among the

Giants grunts, rumbles, silence – listening to

The ancient clacking dialect of their

Two-toed shoes. Strange enchanted tones that

Made the modern me want to turn tail,

Run, the ancestral me to stay. To stay

And translate what it made me feel, you feel,

Because you were of different comfort.

You grew up in their unsettling shade.

      You knew most by name, maybe by their look.

This seemed clear in the way they stared

Sideways when you made that noise, the same one

That set my mind to calm, to deep, deep stillness.

Unlike the swaying horizon, shaken,

Shivering in the wake of evening winds

That stirred dust from ground and matted hair

Alike, blending titan forms into soft

Impressionist forms, backlit by gradient

Yellow to orange. The earthy hue

Of our hosts’ unkempt, unbathed, unabashed locks,

Caked in brown mud, sparsely transformed to grains

Of dust so fine that when sent airborne

      Appeared as twisting wisps of coughed smoke;

Invisible on your muted olive skin,

Showing as tiny moving freckles on mine.

With each movement by me or the wind,

Which now seemed to calm and cool even further,

The sun proceeded to fall at once

From sight, from feel, causing an audible

Shiver from us both, and from the silhouettes

That appeared far less threatening without mass

      To give depth to their melancholy sighs;

Announcing end to day’s patent exposure,

Which returns red at dawn; an ember

Forced through cool, blue tinted night skies.

Print from a 35mm negative. The image was taken on the day I wrote about in the poem.

5 thoughts on “Bison

  1. Reblogged this on James Brandon O'Shea and commented:

    About a year ago, this was the first post I ever made public. I don’t think anyone goes back a year in the archives, and it goes with a similar theme as my previous post about the buffalo cave drawing, so I thought I’d reblog it. Some form of this was published in a small art and literary magazine, though it has changed since then. Thanks for reading.

    1. Hi James! Thank you for leaving such a kind comment on my blog. I couldn’t find yours at first, I think you visited mine already earlier and I tried to look for your blog then also. Thanks to your Flickr connection I found this page. Your blog looks really intriguing, I hope I will have time to read many posts. I love that fact that you do film photography. I did that for a long time also and I still use my digital camera the same way I used to use my Canon T60. I don’t postprocess and I don’t use extra light sources. I haven’t scanned my film work, except some example photos that you can find in the beginning of my Flickr stream. I’m telling you all this just to point out that I am a fan of film photography and I treasure your blog because I can admire creative film work here. Love your poem and the buffalo photo. I wanted to find your first post, so I’m starting here… Have fun creating!

      1. You’re welcome! I’ve been enjoying following your work. I think you do a great job photographing your subjects the way you want them to appear, and not necessarily how they actually are. You definitely know how to use available light to accomplish what you want from your photos. I will have to look through the archives on your flickr to see your film scans. The reason I still shoot film is because when I shoot digital it changes my whole approach to photography. Mainly, it makes me speed up the process, and I like working slower when I shoot, so film keeps me accountable. It’s very expensive though, and I am reaching the point where I may have to pick up a digital camera to cut costs in the long run. Thank you very much for your comment, and for all the additional likes and comments today! I am really flattered how you have gone back and looked at my older posts. I hope you’re doing well, and again, looking forward to your future work.

  2. That is the reason I went digital, it is too expensive to shoot film. I will read rest of your posts another day, it’s past midnight here already. I have truly enjoyed reading your blog this evening. There are so many blogs but it is very unusual to come across something inspiring like yours. Goodnight!

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