Friday, August 10, 2012

The Witness

three figures

The touch of an infinite mystery passes over the trivial and the familiar, making it break out into ineffable music… The trees, the stars, and the blue hills ache with a meaning which can never be uttered in words. ~Rabindranath Tagore


The poignancy of life
Is a physical thing
As my lungs inflate
Filled to bursting at the ache
Of gold-tinged memories
Crumbling with a touch
Fleeting and fragile
Like a butterfly at sunset
Disappearing into twilight

My heart trips and stumbles
On the cracks of my past
Falling hard on the sidewalk
Its bittersweet chamber
Skinned raw with regrets
My anxieties lie draped
Atop my fickle faith
Like a barbed wire necklace
That pricks with its
Foolish agonies

But my soul stands
As a witness
To the joys and the strife, to
The angel and the devil
Behind my eyes
And we all three stare
With an intake of breath
At life's pincushion sky
Stuck sharply, sweetly
With brilliant stars

My lonely billows out, and
My soul falls to her knees
From the love.

©Sherri Brannon

For this week's Photo Art Friday, we were to center an image around "gift(s)". I'm grateful for the gift of Photoshop Elements, and what it's given to me as a means of expressing myself. For the first time in my life, I have found a medium that continues to enthrall me over a year later, and that lets me combine my creative loves: photography, art, and poetry. For this week's prompt, I created an image to go with a poem I wrote called "The Witness". The beauty and the poignancy of life overwhelms me at times...have you ever had one of those moments when you're so grateful you feel overcome by emotion? That is what this poem is about. Life is not always easy, but it is so precious.

For my image, I started with a daylight photo I took of the mountains in Virginia, and used layers/texture to turn it to night and add a star-filled sky (Multiply/100%) and moon (Normal/100%). I then added the three figures (Darker Color/100%) and the heart bokeh (Lighten/45%). I found the starry night, moon, heart bokeh, and "three figures" layers all at Flickr Creative Commons. I hand wrote my poem on a piece of paper, scanned it, inverted it in PSE (so it was white text on black), and added it as a layer on the mountains (Lighten/12%). I like that my words are imbedded into those mountains...a little piece of me taking part in the story that this image creates. Note: I used a reverse mask on each layer if needed to remove it from areas where I didn't want it to show.

Original mountain image:

Photo Art Friday


  1. What a thrill it must be to be able to put form to your feelings with words, and then form to your words with images! An amazing coupling, Sherri.

    So ... when are you going to collect your poems into an illustrated (by you!) book?

    Thanks for linking up with PAF.

  2. So beautiful and serene!!

  3. Fleeting, yes. I've been thinking about that a lot lately. Love "life's pincushion sky."

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Just a few more summer snoozes and fall colors will be here.

  4. You do some amazing things with your photos! I really should learn to use Photoshop Elements.

  5. Editing softwares are truly an amazing gifts! I totally agree!
    your piece is just wonderful. what a creative work!

  6. Tremendously beautiful, Sherri. Poignant and courageous.

    And I'm so glad you have PSE to create the images for your poetic visions.

    Happy weekend to you!

  7. Soo, so beautiful . . . and when the kids get back in school I'm going to make myself open elements!! (scary) ; )

    I love that you made the photo to go with the poem, which is wonderful, and yes I have had many occasions when I have been overcome with emotion . . .

  8. Stunning!!! Sherri, this is amazing! I absolutely love the end result of your work. It's fantastic.

  9. So creative and imaginative. The heart bokeh really makes it.

  10. fabulous editing and heart felt poem

  11. I got so lost in your poem; it really spoke of the often "fleeting" yet deeply thoughtandfelt experiences we have and don't necessarily speak about. Just this morning Gracie and I were out and 3 different butterflies came. One very yellow with some black, one monarch or orange with black, and another totally yellow. I always think that butterflies, in particular the monarchs, are my last Golden, Reba, coming to visit. And I always acknowledge her. Of course, Gracie hears Reba and she looks and looks but never seems to SEE her older "dog-sister."

    Anyhow, I also love what you've done with your photo. It is breathtaking and gorgeous and so BEautimously done.

  12. oh wow, Sherri, I am sitting here watching the History channel and the universe and I look at your photo. It was as though the universe presented itself in one shot. Beautiful.

  13. I love your starry filled night sky. Your piece is so creative and the poetry was beautiful.

  14. what you've created here. I'm speechless!!

  15. you've done such an amazing job Sherri. Yes, I am speechless too.
    Beautifully beautifully done!

  16. Absolutely glorious - oh wow - what processing! and the poem - beautiful!

  17. This is awesome, and hope you don't mind my adding one more of your awesome photo-poems to my journal.