For Mat Hale

A camera
Is a machine, but
Behind that machine is the
Eye of an artist

Or seeing
That’s a better word
For eyes that look deeper
And find truths that
Need light

But is it
Powerful enough
For the alchemy that goes
Into capturing life
Via a lens

I need
New words for
Turning vision to language –
Maybe silence
Is best

A life
Seeing stories
Is a life dedicated to magic
Of the purest

What a gift
To see so much beauty
In the world, and to share it
With others, a marvel
Of gratitude

Note: I’ve been lucky to work with some truly extraordinary collaborators, but Mat Hale is among the most generous and hardworking of the bunch. I’ve learned so much through our work together, and I’m so grateful to have gotten to see the world through the unique perspective of his filmmaking eyes. Here’s to hopefully many more in the future.

Update: I originally wrote this poem on the 11th of June. He had learned that he had Stage 4 cancer, and was trying to get to grips with this news and what it meant for him. I was able to share it with Mat before he got really ill. I am grateful I got to articulate a small amount of what he meant to me.

I’m still trying to take in the news that Mat died yesterday. I just got off the phone, and the tears are still clinging to my eyelashes.

I feel stunned with grief, and the only thing I can think to do is to reach for his memory by publishing this poem.

This wasn’t the ending I would have wanted for him – it was far too fast, and cruelly painful. But over the past few months, as we exchanged emails about our shared cancer diagnoses, offering each other support and strength.

I will miss Mat as an artist, but most especially, I will miss him as a friend.

Godspeed, Mat – may you know peace, rest, and infinite beauty on the other side.

Photo by Gidon Wessner on Unsplash