I want to thank everyone who followed, read and connected with the Poetry Brought To Life photo series of the poem "The Man Of Stone" on both Facebook and Instagram. As we close the book on this series I wanted to share a little bit about what this project meant to me.
First, it meant so much to have the trust of our partners, Loft Talent, ADORN USA, Twigs N Twine, and especially the incredibly talented special effects makeup artist who took all my notes and words and brought them to life, Aryn Fox (link is NSFW) to take on this concept. I can tell you that the best part of the journey into discovering who I am as a photographer and making projects like this has been the growing number of talented individuals like Aryn and the rest of our contributors that I have had the privilege of working with.
So what does "The Man Of Stone" mean? I really hope that many of you have formed your own ideas of what the man of stone means to you and how you relate to it but personally I believe it is a story of sacrificial love. It's what it means to face difficult challenges for the sake of love.
For the hope of the man of stone, we need to face our painful past relationships and find it within us to let those circumstances fuel our desire to love others passionately: our spouses, our children, our loved ones. To let the unfortunate universal common bond of personal loss and tragedy allow us to be even more open and willing to trust as vulnerable as that might be.
For the patience of the orchid, we need to love others with the same resiliency others do in loving us even though we've hurt them. This is so much harder than anything any of us will be called to do. We also need to be aware of the orchids that are put in our own lives and be willing to separate them from our past and work to walk into these relationships as a whole person deserving of the sacrificial love they bring.
I definitely believe we all have a little bit of both of these symbols in all of us. Personally, I know the pressures and circumstances that made the stone in me and I know the people that have been worth persevering for. Two girls in my own life, my wife and my daughter, may continue to be the most complex, important, challenging relationships I will ever navigate through these emotions with. For many of you your spouse, your children and your close friends and family will also be the ones you need to break your own stone for and have the patience to watch the orchids grow in those relationships. My challenge to you now that this series has ended is to search within yourself to see what is preventing you from loving yourself enough to love others in the way they deserve to be? If you continue to face those things and express yourself in positive ways I think we'll all be amazed by how much better our relationships can be and we won't need to see the pattern of "The Man Of Stone" continue to plague our relationships. I hope this inspires you to take the next steps in your relationships and I leave you with the full copy of "The Man Of Stone" below:
The Man of Stone | poetry by Chris Birkmeyer
The man of stone is not strong,
His exterior may misguide
For tools he’s formed to arm himself
Forged in shame and pain inside.
Few know the story of his rigid skin
His glossy eyes or quiet disposition
Fewer care to understand
The darkness which clouds his vision
But upon his back, a solitary flower
Its roots ensnared betwixt the moss
The man of stone disbelieves its beauty
Fixated solely on previous loss
Nothing of value dwelled on this ogre
Birds and plants often tried
But one by one they flew away
All who stayed have died
The orchid however is patient
In securing her nest on his shoulder
Beseeching the man to water her
Straining for life from inside the boulder
Without contest the stone fractured
The moss swelled with nectarous dew
Broken the man knelt solaced
And the orchids petals gleamed blue
A sudden pain came over the orchid
Illness the ogre struggled to cease
But the toxins filling the veins of the flower
Were from the poisoned heart of the beast
Devastated he holds his motionless lover
He knows he’s killed his beautiful prize
Rigid stone breaks as it cannot bend
Tired and alone he dies.