Wednesday, June 26, 2013

IGWRT's About Face - "Tradition"

Photo courtesy of Peggy Goetz

A scarlet halo
crowns her "indigenous"

woven motifs
hint of ancient Maya -

tourists point, take photos.

I linger, look into eyes
deep with unshaken belief,

walk away, feeling guilty
for having trespassed.

by Margaret Bednar, June 26, 2013

I did not go to Guatemala, the photo was taken by Peggy Goetz during her travels.  I do remember going to Indian Reservations here in the United States as a little girl and it was all a game to me.  Seeing "live" Indians, an "Indian village".   I feel it was probably more "sideshow" than truly informative or respectful.  Perhaps it is different today.  I know when I tour Southern Plantations today, much is made of the "slave tours" today and presented in a respectful and educational format - I'm sure it wasn't 40 years ago.

This is linked with Imaginary Garden with Real Toads "About Face".   It is really a challenge to write to a portrait I know nothing about - and a good exercise.  Thanks, Peggy.


Outlawyer said...

A poem that really spoke to me, Margaret. Travel can be difficult in this regard--even a "faked" experience has some very genuine aspects. k. (This is Manicddaily at wordpress typing on iPad - it wants me to stick to an old blogger siste.) k.

Susie Clevenger said...

It is hard sometimes to not feel we have infringed on people with our cameras and stares...perhaps they hope we come away from it with knowledge and respect...lovely write.

Kerry O'Connor said...

It is always important to acknowledge the person behind the culture and tradition and your poem has done that and more. I have much respect for Peggy, who asks all her subjects' permission before taking their photo and your poem carries that respect a step further.

kaykuala said...

Snapping a photo of people may not be that simple. Asking permission is one thing but be ready to be snubbed. There're sensitivities to care for. Getting their confidence by engaging in conversation before hand can be of help! Nicely Marge!


Mary said...

I do think it is always important to be respectful photographers....wherever we tread.

Loredana Donovan said...

This is lovely, Margaret ... showing respect for other cultures and appreciating diversity :)

Ella said...

I like how you did this...the trespassed feeling, the questions. I know Peggy is always asking permission, which is key! I feel the infringement when I speak sometimes. My accent stands out-I get looks and stares. It was a great exercise and you did a wonderful job!

Margaret said...'s not so much the trespassing with the photographing... but with why people stop to look in the first place. Like one is at the zoo "Oh, look, a zebra!, a tiger, a polar bear... A mayan woman in "costume" - and I'm not saying this is what Peggy does - I don't think she does. It's just an angle I approached the prompt from ... a thought I had :)

Mama Zen said...

Beautifully thoughtful work, Margaret.

forgetmenot said...

Very nice poem, Margaret. Mickie :)

izzy said...

She just plain looks tired! her eyes, mouth-Yes sometimes photo's are an intrusion! Thanks.

Susan said...

Spoken as a true photographer and tourist who knows the industry is important, both yours and hers, caught up in each other. When do the doors open beyond the eyes of either? Would knocking matter?

Kay L. Davies said...

So well done, Margaret. The last two stanzas are perfect.

Anonymous said...

There's certainly a feel of holiness to both arts~words and photography !

Peggy said...

I thought I commented on this very thoughtful poem in response to my picture. Lots to think about, indeed. I am having some trouble getting my comments to show up on some blogs of late. I should probably check to make sure more often.