Elegy for My Fuji X-20

You were with me in Auvillar,

when Christophe showed me

what my eyes are for,

pointed them at a trio

of elders,

village “personnages,”

white-haired dudes. Now

I’m la viellle, l’ancienne,

senior cit, as we say

in the New World.

No grey. Aveda

takes care of that.

My Fuji, my baby,

none will give me

second sight

the way you

used to.

“Nothing lasts forever,

or even for very long,”

Marcus Aurelius said.

Son of a Bitch, what did

he know of zooming

out or in?

He covered mortality,

we’ll give him that.

Soon enough, Marcus, I’ll

shoot the breeze

with you.

What will my




Alert, After Baudelaire

I am the queen of a rainy country

whose king has gone dark.

He’s a speechless river,

but I have not stopped listening.

The king left his voice somewhere else,

holds his cruelty close.

I have not stopped listening––

thunder, roar of the rising river.

More wall. His cruelty

huge and other-worldly.

The swollen river breaches the banks.

Indifferent gaze

behind the weather.

He is the sullen king of elsewhere.

I am queen where his wall is gathering.

Poet’s Note

In "Elegy for My Fuji X-20," I expressed sadness at the demise of my favorite camera. The little Fuji X-20 traveled with me everywhere, especially in France. It allowed me see doubly, with my eyes and with the lens. One focuses attention with a camera, literally, and then later, as memories are brought home with the photos. Rereading my poem, I can picture myself at the promontory in Auvillar, studying at the elders seated on a bench, and looking out at the ancient countryside beyond us, beyond aging. Poetry has that power, too, to let us see up close, and to help us remember more than we knew at first.
"Alert" is a riff off a line from "Spleen" by Charles Baudelaire, that begins, "*Je suis le roi d'un pays pluvieux*..." The poem is found in *Les Fleurs du Mal*, 1857. Baudelaire's line translates to "I am the king of a rainy country." I shifted the poem toward my feminine perspective. Baudelaire was the first poet I ever fell in love with, in Madame Pradal's French Poetry class, Tufts University. Reading and hearing Baudelaire converted me to poetry, moving my attention from the ordinary to the lyrical and surprising. Poetry teaches us to pay attention to detail, to sound, rhythm and imagery. I have had great teachers and I keep learning from poetry, always