The Photographic Competition - Poem by Pete Crowther
This girl I know has seen a poster for
a photographic competition
with prizes for the best three photographs.
Land transport is the theme —
roads, highways, railways, bridges;
the field of choice is wide.
She thinks ‘why not? ’ and
straightaway decides to try to win.
That night she doesn’t sleep at all,
her mind is full of thoughts
of roads and highways, railway lines
and plans. Next day she tries to borrow
from a friend his camera but he’s out,
no matter, she will try again,
meanwhile there’s much research to do
upon the Internet and using Google’s images
to check the many ways
that roads and highways, too,
might variously be viewed.
When Sunday comes, still camera-less
she walks for miles
to where the railway line is bridged
and gives a photographic vantage point.
Here once a week the track’s one train
will pass beneath the bridge.
Today she reconnoitres, measures angles,
sight lines, calculates perspectives, rates of speed.
Tomorrow she resolves to check
which day the train will pass along the line.
Meanwhile a plan of action forms:
she’ll take a holiday from work that day
and wait with patience and a camera for the train.
She’ll get her shot.
So far so good. She next turns over in her mind
the strategies for roads and highways —
a week at least for staking out
locations, planning pics. She formulates
a schedule in her mind —
This girl is serious and intends to win
like Soviet General Zhukov who
in World War II triumphed against all odds.
Her battle plans like his are based on Clausewitz,
she’s read his Art of War and follows,
faithfully the principle he taught —
which is to bring a force that’s irresistible
to any problem, hitch or snag,
and in that way to overwhelm
and crush all opposition, totally.
This is what it takes to win,
and I am glad she is my friend;
I would not choose
to have her as my foe.
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