Saturday, June 2, 2012

The First Daguerrotype Of A Human Being

March 7, 1839,

            a tall man wearing a hat

            got a shoe shine

            on a Paris street.

We know this because

            Daguerre standing at a distance

            captured this, his first human form,

            on a silvered copper plate.

The tall man getting a shoe shine

            appears not to have noticed

            – taken unawares.

Perhaps the street

            hummed, sang, rattled

            with people scurrying,

            ambling, proceeding apace.

But that is at best

            a reasonable surmise,

            a likely conjecture,

            a mere supposition.

We do not know because

            if they were there,

            they were moving and so

            invisible to Daguerre’s camera.

Only the tall man

            wearing a hat

            getting his shoes shined

            on a Paris street

stood still long enough

            to become immortal.