Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Searching Ruins On Broadway for Dead Bodies, Galveston (1900)

Broken timbers. Lots of timbers.
Lots of broken.
Large and small timbers tilted
diagonal, upon
diagonal upon diagonals, resting.

Stacks before the static lens, the
rubble of the homes of Galveston.
In them
the men and women
and children
of Galveston.
Hidden, broken, beneath the beams.

(Upper left) Man swinging axe atop girder.
Timbers hacked by constant downward motions.

(Upper right) Church, by hurricane-wind’s force blasted.
Church persisting.

(Centre right) Rescuer hurling timbers to his right.
Timbers launched like javelins toward unrecorded space.

(Centre) Man with businessman’s hat and white shirt—
man with no task before the camera—
back turned to the lens,
finds object.

Stands in rubble.
Studies object.

Viewer’s aside:
(What must a man fear finding here?
The wise ones stick to industry.
The shattered ones alone would choose to ponder
this mountain of timbers and what holds it up; this
pile of corpses and wood.)

Man with businessman’s hat and white shirt
places object down most delicately.
Eases self to bottom of frame
most gingerly.
Bottom of frame,
not bottom of pile.
Bottom of pile’s below the frame—
twenty feet below or more.
You cannot see beyond the lens,
to the bloating core of blasted Galveston.

Where to find Searching Ruins On Broadway for Dead Bodies, Galveston:
This film, a one-minute piece of footage documenting the rescue effort following the Galveston, Texas flood of 1900, is one of many brief, early films found Disc One of Kino International’s must-have, four-disc set, Edison: The Invention of the Movies.

A somewhat blurry version can be found at Wikipedia Commons. No audio here, I’m afraid.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I love this. What a wonderful idea, using poetry to describe the shorts. Excellent. ^_^