Picture Taking

- Primula

"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
From afar,
The glitter of fame.
But directly in your eyes, again and again
And 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
To care.