THE ONLY KNOWN PHOTOGRAPH OF GOD – a poem by Rupert Loydell


‘When you get a clearer picture you can understand
why so many want to stand in the dust cloud,
where there is comfort in confusion.’
– Thomas Merton

The only known photograph of God
turns out to be a silhouetted skyhook
slung from a wire, holding nothing
and not moving at all. It is not
uplifting or impressive, the sky
is grey, the image black and white.

What did the monk who took the photo
mean? Was it a surrealist joke or a way
to make an oblique comment about
expectations or absence, the unknown?
He took up meditation, talked in zen
and went to meet the Dalai Lama,

then his maker. Left us notebooks
and a damaged small black painting,
photos and calligraphies, a mystery
shaped hole in the centre of his work.
It is totally absurd to expect answers
that might help explain our world.

© Rupert M Loydell


Rupert Loydell is a writer, editor and abstract artist. His many books of poetry include Dear Mary (Shearsman, 2017) and The Return of the Man Who Has Everything (Shearsman 2015); and he has edited anthologies such as Yesterday’s Music Today (co-edited with Mike Ferguson, Knives Forks and Spoons Press 2014), and Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh: manifestos and unmanifestos (Salt, 2010).

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