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A lesson in photography


I sold my soul to the devil
and the devil wants his back.
You, he said, you think you’re
so smart? Try this one!

But it’s no good.

Smart is the sound of
boots crunching a trail
and the sighs you make
hearing that oddsome tale;
smart is a warm blue sky
lying down with cool water,
its reward to bleed its golden life
in its golden hour.

They told me, they said,
to seek the light
that it would be a comfort
to the lens. So it’s just me,
I suppose, in my oddsomeness,
that I prefer to look for the dark:
less is more, more is less,
and black—well, black—black
holds itself in everything.


I went for a walk around Thompson Dam, a reservoir that is close to where I live. It should be only 8 miles, but I got lost a few times, so only heaven knows how far I really hiked. On the walk went with me Ernest Bloch, the great mid-20th century composer on the headphones, my camera in hand and the need for a poem I wanted to write. Some would say—and would perhaps be correct—that I got short changed. Perhaps…

Thank you for reading A lesson in photography. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken during my walk that day at Thompson Dam. The rest of the photographs I took on that hike can be found here at With Bloch at Thompson Dam. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem and notes © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2014 by John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use or reproduction in any way, unless so granted in writing by the copyright owner.

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