Poem: Step In. Step Out.

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Step In. Step Out.

Four hundred and eighty
small paintings,
all painted black and hung on a single wall,
too much
to take in.

You step back,
and the whole comes into view,
easier to digest,
but less personal.

But it is not enough.
You need to feel.
You cannot let this overwhelm you.
You cannot.
It is too easily done
at a distance.

You step back in.
Closer, so close even the periphery
is filled with black holes
of the missing.

You let the tears come,
your own losses melting into a nation’s.
And pray.

About this poem

It can be overwhelming, can’t it? So we withdraw to the most intimate. Our homes. Our families. Prayer.

It is what we have. The things we can touch, and know they are there.

The photograph is of an installation in the National Galleries of art. Ten years ago and it still affects me. That is what art should be.

Tom

 

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