The Photographer

College Days, No. 5, 9 July 1920
Baby Sibyl camera from 1912 by Newman & Guardia (London)

Baby Sibyl camera from 1912 by Newman & Guardia (London)

Not a breath is heard, not a moving of lip,
As his hand stays poised o’er the shutter,
And only the gnat on the neck gives a nip,
And we think of the words we mayn’t utter.

He develops them darkly by dead of night
In a little black hole of an attic;
He pulls all the curtains to shut out the light,
And stays there for ages, ecstatic.

He takes bits of paper and puts them in frames,
And leaves them to print all the morning,
And thinks they’ll be printed (and signed with our names),
The chemist or jeweller scorning.

But many and loud are the words he speaks,
And much more in anger than sorrow,
And he looks at the things he has worked at for weeks,
But he starts them again on the morrow.

We thought as we saw him undoing a clip,
As he walked unobserving toward us,
It were wiser no longer to stay, but to skip
For what refuge the gods might afford us.

Quickly and gaily we made our way,
And showed no traces of sadness,
For we felt we were free from his grasp for the day,
And we left him alone to his madness.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Source: CW10-50

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