If the art in icons is not representational ...

If the exaggerations of senses (large, almost sad eyes; aquiline noses; long almost dangling ear lobes etc.) symbolize the interior vision of the persons in the icon sensing things most of us are not spiritually capable of sensing yet ...

Does this explain the haunted feeling I always have had around very old photographs? Say those from the early 1900s ... black and white ... or sepia, perhaps ... stern faces, big empty eyes ... dark rooms, not unlike church during Great Vespers? Did those features, often just accidents of severely limited technology and cultural tastes, nevertheless somehow awaken in me -- through my spirit, the "hidden side of my soul," my "higher mind" -- a solid intuition of spiritual reality?

I wondered that today, during my own meditations ... fed, as often is the case, by readings in older Orthodox writings (in this case, very early writings by Hieromartyr Pavel Florensky). The following "poem" came out ... came out so quickly, and without time to craft it slowly and carefully in coming days and weeks, that I actually call it (and others like it which I'll post here from time to time) a pome (undeserving of the title "poem"):

Remembering old sepia photographs –

Elaborate dark lumbered furniture

in unflickered Vesperal twilight

Women in flowing dresses

severely buttoned blouses hats of gardens

Men suited vested pocket-watch-fobbed

banana-mustached dark hair beslicked

No one smiling

every eye empty as eggs

What have they seen that takes away smile and eyes

Except it be the Other

All Other

Through an icon moment

A sacrament of time

Too grand for any mere feeling

Ineffable beyond use of biology of eye


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