"Yes, I was there -
No, I don't have a picture.
Why? Well, because I didn't take one."
I may never have another chance, I know.
But at the time, with you so near,
I could see your face and
You looked so tired.
Though you managed to keep smiling,
Well practiced as you are, and graceful.
With your eyes bedazzled with endless
Bright flashes -
You looked so worn.
So many, many flashes making
A sparkle of stars that would have beauty
The glitter of fame.
But directly in your eyes, again and again
It suddenly seemed so wearying,
And I felt I would be lacking in courtesy
To add to such a torment.
I respect your work, and care about you,
As a person,
So my ready camera remained in my hand
But the shutter was never released.
And I watched you walk past me,
In a strobe of lights.
Yes, I know I may never be so close again,
I have no "proof" I ever was,
But I choose to not regret that choice.
I know my one less flash had greater impact
On me than on you.
You will not even recall it.
But I do not regret that small choice -
A choice to see the person behind the smiles,
Behind all the famous portraits.
We all bear that mark of humanity: the caring heart.
But how we use it defines, in part, who we are.
"No, I did not take a picture."
Because I did not want to add to your misery.
However graciously you bear it
Day in and day out.
Even though I know you chose this path,
Even though I already have wished I had one
To look at, to show, to share.
But I do not think I was foolish