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Lay for the Day
12th July

1854: the birthday of George Eastman, who developed the emulsion-coating process that permitted the mass production of dry-plates, and the beginning of modern photography.

Zeus’s Camera

My Antipandora it opens
and everything good flies in

The mountains, the sea, the sunset
my friends and relations

On the far side of their appearance
the counterbox to mine

As soon as this shuts that opens
containing their essence

Which flies out rejoicing, replacing
themselves with something else

One day creeping round behind the scenes
I opened mine on that

Which, being good, with triumphal flap
flew into this. No sooner

Shut the one than the other sprang wide
inside. I don’t know what

Happened, but something snapped. My black
box flew like a raven

And sat on the mountain, with lids spread
against the red sun, laughing

While out rolled another sea, another
sun and yet more mountains

While out streamed a million white weddings
spreading out like the Milky Way

John Gibbens
from Zeus’s Camera

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar