Camera, Camera

… and this one I found in a bric-a-brac sale,
the Village Hall, some charity thing.
He had it marked at £40 – I knocked him down.
Quite a bargain, a Voigtlander Bessa 66 –
look at the perfect state of the bellows.
Now see a real classic:  the George Eastman
Brownie Kodak – a magic box, I like to think.
You peer into that little window, and there’s the image,
trapped like a tiny thing.

Yes, people often gasp at a whole room lined with cameras.
It just filled up when the wife moved out.
Now this was a rare find:
others would give an arm and leg,
and it’s all mine.  Guess where I found it?
A boot fair.  Under a pasteboard bent with weight.
It started raining.  I had a feeling,
like something was sending out a message.
So I rummaged in this old box, and there it was.
‘How much’, I asked the girl –
baby saddled on her hip, she stood crooked,
looked stupid.  She said, ‘I spose a quid’ll do’.
A quid, a quid!  Can you believe it?
At Christies it would sell for eleven thousand:
the Periphote panoramic, polished nickel, French lens.

Oo, oo, mind how you hold it!
But let me show you the very best:
the Germans knew how to make a camera.
A Leica – issued to the Third Reich.
See the swastika marking there …
most of them have it scratched off.
This must have seen some strange sights.
I sometimes wonder if they’re still in there,
relegated like void emotions.


© Caroline Fox Betts 2010

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