Pansy close-up

These poems, discovered after her death, offer insight into Gay's photography and how she understood her life and her work.

Welcome to My World demonstrates her deep affection for the subjects she photographed. It is also like a huge “where’s Waldo game”, in the sense that each line references one and sometimes two different pictures — a delight to those who know her pictures.

In Artist Statement Gay moves our attention away from the techniques of her photography back to her amazing subjects.


I travel the world stealing images
hidden in pixels or rolls,
seeing sights unseen by others,
Viewed through rectangular holes.

Life spent in a valley of  creeks and cliffs
filled with motion and light,
witnessing animals confronting each other
panning birds in their flight.

Strong and meek jostle for dominance,
as turtles mate hidden by  ferns,
butterfly spins in a spiders net.
sad and pleasing  by human terms

Oceans pounding, a farmers pride,
mist hiding birds from hunters sight,
Wild trees bloom in fields of color,
Sounds and emotions at my fingertips.

Horses run in a swirl of white
my heart racing beside them,
hoping I captured this vision
yet pleased to share their delight

I watch as fox drink from a pond
ignoring uncatchable prey.
Wise as a fox, a common saying,
why waste energy late in the day.

A toad and I, eye to eye
shaded by the shadows,
Snail surprised to see us there
raises head to sense the scene.

So welcome to my world
as seen through my lens,
As different from your world
As mine is from yours.

                    ARTIST STATEMENT

Don't ask the photographer, “How did you do it?”
Instead ask a bird, “How do you do it?”
Ask for the secret of lifting in air,
how to fly, or to warble

Ask horses in snow covered grass,
why run so happily late in the day.
While I the photographer gasp in amazement,
frozen and rooted unable to match,
the wonders these animals perform everyday.

October 2006

Like milkweed seeds blow off on a windy day
So our old friends disappear,
Leaving the stem to stand alone
hoping a few will remain

Sometimes a few hang on
cuddling together, forming a shield,
a fluffy blanket of friends,
determined to hang together.

Let's make a pact to hang on tightly
clinging with our gauzy arms,
built of countless memeories
together to brave the storm.