The Photographer

The Photographer
by Theodora Goss

The photographer bought a hut
on the estate of the viscounts of Almansa
from the doctor, the grandson of the old viscount,
a hut that had for centuries
been for the shepherds and their sheep.

He swept it out, painting the walls and doors —
white walls, doors and shutters
in shades of green.

There he would take pictures
of the light as it fell across
the walls, an arrangement of dried flowers
in a green glass vase,
a row of ceramic pots, the persimmons
in the small orchard, still hanging on bare branches
under nets to keep away the birds.

We watched him, the photographer,
a brown, wrinkled man with a black camera
looking and looking and looking,
pointing, sometimes winking at us children.
I wondered, then, what he saw
in doors and shadows,
in wedges of light, or a set of linen curtains,
in leaves littering the courtyard.

Now I am as old as he was,
and I know.

(The image is Corfu: Lights and Shadows by John Singer Sargent.)

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