Long ago I noted a quote from a newspaper article; ‘portrait photographer said (he) looks for combination of vulnerability plus strength equals beauty.’ Here I try writing what is called a “golden shovel poem” where each word in the quote ends each line of the poem.

Might every attempt at writing be like a portrait

Where we try to observe like the clear lens of the photographer?

But of course the photographer knows that is not enough, you must capture more, he said

Will it be in the light?  the framing?  the color? the context? Look

Look at what, the apprentice asks (and we are all apprentices, remember, always), look for

The ineffable, a real portrait somehow being a combination

Of seen and sensed, of now and remembered; must show the clouds part to reveal a vulnerability

A shaft of tender light enters to show us what is glowing plus

Shadow upon shadow upon shadow; what has required strength

Or- where one has failed to be strong, not been equal

To the task, and yet continued- the real definition of vulnerability.  To see all this and to show it, both photographer and author call it


Image by Juan Silva in Getty Images

7 thoughts on “Beauty

    1. So lovely and true. It reminds me of a podcast I was listening to on why Rembrandt’s portraits are considered so exceptional. How he was able to capture the nuances of people. “To see all this and to show it” is art and beauty.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You did it!!!! And it’s exquisite. I never thought that vulnerability could be seen as beauty. This post is making me reflect more about that. My favorite line- “Of seen and sensed, of now and remembered; must show the clouds part to reveal a vulnerability”. Well done, Golden shoveler.


  2. Fran, what I love most about your poem is the flow. The language choices you make – it’s so clearly poetic, and yet it sounds so conversational. I can picture your narrator sitting, trying to both wonder about and explain what we do as writers, as poets. And somehow, you’ve captured it. Beautifully.


  3. Just elegant. I have tried this form and found it very difficult! Yours flowed beautifully. “Not been equal to the task, but continued.” A great definition.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s