The Beatles’ Last Photo Shoot
Tittenhurst Park, August 1969
This is what I want to think about today,
not the sky gone twilight two hours past noon
and buzzards riding the predicted wind
past perfectly normal empty trees creaking
their old bones. Four young men, knee-deep
in late summer weeds and bloomed-out
flowers, Yoko giggling, Linda pregnant, air
alive with the scent of straw and dry earth.
A donkey, a sheepdog, an 18th century house
with its diamond-shaped windows and dark
woodwork. Beards, wide-brimmed black hats.
Ringo said he didn’t know it was the last time
they’d pose together. This is what I want to
think about: that last time, frozen solid in
what we hope we’ll remember, how when I
finally got to England there was some of it still
left there for me, a wall of trees, the lawn
already a little brown in spots, the possibility
of redeeming love–arranged for a few clicks
of the shutter–that didn’t seem the work of fools.
Editor’s Note: The first line of this poem convinced me it was worth reading because the desire for a perfect moment is universal. This ideal inevitably breaks down, of course (“Ringo said he didn’t know it was the last time // they’d pose together.”), but the wish remains.