Poem Inspired by a Photo by Eric Whitacre

Inspiration comes from all around. It can be very insistent. I may hear some specific words line up, feel compelled to follow and see where that takes me. It feels good. Or I may see some light, shadow and pattern or colors and want to catch them in a photo.

Eric Whitacre is a composer, conductor, and charismatic speaker. He is the creator of Virtual Choir and an all around good guy. I have written many poems inspired by him and his music and the Virtual Choir experience. On his Facebook page he’s been posting photos he takes with his iPhone. Some are in color, some in black and white. On March 24th he posted a photo he took from where he was that day. This picture haunted me, insisting I write this poem. What inspires you to create?


Photo by Eric Whitacre
L.A., Thursday morning, in black and white

What happens before or after
we are not privy to, waves stilled
the calm water on the diagonal
the hard-packed flat sand with few lines
of footprints roughly parallel.

Scattering of clouds in motion
the sun muted and land-bound.
In the distance the Ferris wheel on a pier
precisely drawn yet in silhouette.
The solitary figure heading there or near
or going up to and returning.
The deep horizon both
inviting and ever-retreating.

An unseen witness
who catches this exact moment
between one sandy step and another
without comment except
the frame—what is in, what is out.
Is the man alone or waiting for someone
is he at the beach reflecting, making a decision
or regretting or anticipating?

What is the story this one scene
is part of, perhaps insignificant
perhaps the tragic or comic climax
the still moment before the world changes into
and no going back to what was.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016

Other blog posts with poems inspired by Eric Whitacre  (also some photos)

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