Thursday, July 7, 2011

St. Joseph’s School for Girls


I told myself  he must look fine

to the angels and the birds;

that he would expect to land face up;

now I think he has to face the land,

that he may be



What I remember most about the light

was how, on some days,

it refused to enter;

but I was wrong, it seems;

the light did not refuse;

it was too kind to shine on me.


I was given a large, rough brush

and told to paint my soul;

that was when the pain began;

and there it did not end;

it went on to claim my body and my tongue,

and to shame these very walls.


I saw hope through every opening,

because that’s where it escaped;

I dreamed of rain that did not come;

snow was the best thing,

and was quiet as a mouse;

ice? a forbidden kingdom.


My best friend could not tell me everything,

and so would try to use her eyes;

I learned quickly: light was dark;

up was down; life was death;

grief the greatest joy;

until, one day, they made her blind.

William from Recently Banned Literature has helped me beautifully in writing the poem
for these photographs of a building that holds a history I am sad to say is so very common.

Thank you so very much William.
Without your poem this story is only half told.

[you may click on any image to enlarge]


  1. what a wonderful integration of image and poem!

    I'm sure the stories that keep these walls,
    are not common ... schools for girls, always has all sorts of wefts!

    congrats, is a great work!

  2. thank you Denise for following the previous images up to this point.
    this was an amazing experience for me to
    work with William.

  3. Tess - yes, and they will haunt for a long time
    it seems. thank you for stopping in.

  4. Cool Robert!
    I really like the photos.
    And the round edge frames and how
    you presented it with the beautiful words.

  5. That was groovy, Robert - really entrancing and interesting. Thanks much, to you and co-star William, for this - I really enjoyed it.

  6. Robert, time and again I’m amazed how pain and suffering can give us understanding and lead us to beauty. One can’t exist without the other, it seems. Most of all, I’m grateful the spirit of that place saw fit to speak. That happened because you were willing to listen among those ruins and bear your heart. That is the only way it can happen. I am in awe of your work.

  7. A magnificent collaboration - more like a commingling of kindred souls.

  8. i wondered where william would take this. and while hope lives in the cracks, i was shocked with the ending blindness in spite of knowing i should not have been, in spite of knowing the skeletons of the horrors that took place in these Residential Schools. what culture was pulverized. what souls were made to weep.

    a fine body of work, both photographs and words. if only the world were a place that had no place for either.

    thank you william and robert.


  9. Nadja - thank you.

    Peter - William really brought the essence of these images to the forefront. thank you.

    William - this was a wonderful if not heartbreaking experience. you saw
    through these images into the young womens hearts with your words. thank you so very much for working with me on this.

    erin - yes, i was shocked to at the blindness. i think that is what makes this piece. thank you.

  10. Gabriella - yes it was. we did this without effort. it just seemed to flow back and forth between us.
    i believe that it was you who came up with the idea of a collaboration between William and i last year. well time is and now we have done this.
    thank you my friend.

  11. tolle Serie mit tollen Texten!

  12. Well done both! This works on so many levels. Seamless whilst being so powerful.

  13. leigh - it was great to work with William on this one.
    i was hoping you would see this.
    thank you.

  14. Snow IS the best thing, as is this, the most exciting of collaborations between a great wordsmith and image maker. More please. January feels much brighter...