Choose a poem that resonates with you then interpret it through photographs. Don’t attempt to describe the poem but instead give a sense of the feeling of the poem and the essence it exudes. Start by reading the poem a few times (perhaps aloud) and making a note of the feelings and ideas it promotes, how you respond to it, what it means to you and the mental images it raises in your mind. Next, think about how you’re going to interpret this visually and note down your ideas in your learning log.
You may choose to develop this idea into creating a short series of images reflecting your personal response to the poem (or another poem). Write some reflective notes about how you would move the above exercise on.
On Joy and Sorrow Kahlil Gibran (originally published 1923)
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the self same well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
My Response: I chose this fable/verse from the many I could have within the book “The Prophet” as I have recently been coping with a reasonable amount of sorrow. His words helped me to make some sense of the sadness and problems which have been accumulating around me lately. The words are telling me that it is only because I have felt joy about something that when this pails I then feel sorrow. It is because I am alive, feeling, empathetic, and responsive, that I feel sorrow and sadness as deeply as I do, as I have also previously felt real highs. I should not be concerned that I feel sadness so deeply, as it is an indication that I feel deeply “Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced” (Gibran,1991). It gives me hope that joyful times will return and reminds me of joys in the past.
My visual response is fairly succinct, a vibrant healthy bloom and a dead bloom. The flower that I enjoyed for a few weeks is now gone, but had I not enjoyed it I would not feel sadness at its loss.
I believe I may move this exercise on with assignment two where I will focus on the theme of disappointment or sorrow – how is yet to evolve.
Gibran, K. 1991, The Prophet, Pan. London.