Four Years

Four years ago our Nana passed away. It really doesn't feel like four years has passed since then. It got me thinking though... I was starting to photograph on a daily basis when it happened and, in retrospect, it was another way of dealing with everything that was going on.

So, below I have posted the second poem I wrote after Nana's death (the first was much more vengeful and not really fitting to be read a service), which was read by Steven Burns at the funeral. I have also added the last photograph of our granny to be taken (seen above), and a few images I produced on the morning of the funeral. It was the also the first and last time I photographed my father (see below).

Life’s Haste (2007)

We are not the sea or the silver stars of the sky.

We are not the hills or mighty moon… Why?

‘Cause we are Mortal Men: fated to die.

A haunting thought to most, but I ask you

To look again at Mortal Men: to review

our span on Earth. Yes, it’s short and fast.

Ever racing and chasing; spinning present to past.

The first flake of virginal snow cannot linger,

If it did- no playing or hooraying would ensue.

The sun cannot be tardy in reaching the summit,

If it did- darkness and gloom would reign supreme.

Yet we remember: the golden dawn and powdery puff

For their befuddling beauty is ample enough.

A human life is akin to all of these

Like light glinting on the still seas

surface. There and gone. Like Cortez’s gold

We should hold them in our mind. Not

so we are eternally saddened at the passing-

That we remember, with vigor, their Being.

So crystallize those treasures and avoid Time’s

Ravages and traps! Use pictures and rhymes,

Stories and thoughts- to keep that person

Place or view perpetually fresh and anew.


I hardly slept the night before the funeral. Going for a walk whilst the sun was coming up seemed like the best way to gather my thoughts and emotions before meeting the family or dealing with events of the day. Now I wish I had photographed the full day so I had more portraits and images but, and I think this was Robert Capa who said it, to photograph a funeral you cannot be part of the procession.

'Nana' Margaret McMullan - May you rest in peace.



Steven Burns said...

Excellent man. Well captured! Black and white definately captured the atmosphere of the day. I like the similarity with Robert Capa..one of my favourites

Paradox-Pictures said...

Thanks Steven! I love that Capa quote too. If you want to capture a funeral you have to normally be dashing around everyone or perched on a hill watching the full procession.

What do you make of the photo of Joe? I think knowing that it is Nana's funeral adds a certain something to it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,
Sometimes I forget there are others and that this isn't just my Nana. I wish you did take more photos on that day as I wish I had been there as much as I'm happy that I wasn't. A few glimpses of that day, 4 years on, would have been lovely.

I don't think I've seen Joe in 10 years, it's strange seeing his pictre.
Good luck in your interviews x

Victoria said...

Love this poem Peter. I bet your Nana would have been so impressed.