I noticed a moth fluttering in the garden, went out as quickly as I could on crutches and it waited for me! I haven’t been able to identify it. Can anyone help?
It is the 80th birthday of the war photographer, Don McCullin. Carol Ann Duffy wrote this remarkable poem about him and his work which I find very moving as did my GCSE pupils. Don McCullin is on Radio 4 now in the programme Front Row, worth listening to on iPlayer if you are able to as he talks about the influences of war photography and that the photographer has to do ‘what someone must.’
War Photographer – Carol Ann Duffy
In his dark room he is finally alone
with spools of suffering set out in ordered rows.
The only light is red and softly glows,
as though this were a church and he
a priest preparing to intone a Mass.
Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh. All flesh is grass.
He has a job to do. Solutions slop in trays
beneath his hands, which did not tremble then
though seem to now. Rural England. Home again
to ordinary pain which simple weather can dispel,
to fields which don’t explode beneath the feet
of running children in a nightmare heat.
Something is happening. A stranger’s features
faintly start to twist before his eyes,
a half-formed ghost. He remembers the cries
of this man’s wife, how he sought approval
without words to do what someone must
and how the blood stained into foreign dust.
A hundred agonies in black and white
from which his editor will pick out five or six
for Sunday’s supplement. The reader’s eyeballs prick
with tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers.
From the aeroplane he stares impassively at where
he earns his living and they do not care.