Hope you all enjoy this, I wrote this after my first experience developing 35mm black and white film. I hope this is the right forum...
To a Negative (with apologies to Robert Burns)
Wee, slip’ry, curly, difficult beastie
O, what a panic's in my breastie
As I fumble in the dark
Juggling wi' an invisible reel
Will my leader hit the mark?
Or will I fail in my feel?
I'm truly sorry my thick fingers
Leave upon you prints and ringers
An’ as the reel drops in the tank
I shudder with worried compulsion
Images locked away, as in a bank
What happens next to my emulsion?
I doubt myself, as I meter the beaker
Could a man be any meeker?
I fret an’ flail with formulation
English, US, inch or milli-liter?
Developer first? Such trepidation!
In I pour – an accurate meter?
Thy wee clockface, I set it thrice
With nervous fingers cold as ice!
Mantra mutterin’, every minute, ten
I agitate, technique unproven
A tap on the sink, is that right? I ken?
I set down the tank, it sits, unmovin'
My minds eye sees gelatin wastin'
D-76: oh, the images it hastens!
As Kronos indicates an imminent stop
Panic-stricken, I watch the clock
To the sink, I trip and hop
Pourin’ the chemical out o’ my crock
That wee bit o' chemistry, ounces only
Poured out, but now my negative's lonely
It's time to cease, desist developin’
The beaker once more beckonin’
I fill it carefully, my brow wrinklin’
‘til tis reached the correct reckonin’
But negative, thou hast no voice
It's up to me to make the choice
What chemicals? When? and How?
To shake, to pour, to empty out
Again, sweat stains my furrow’d brow
My ignorance, technique doth flout!
An’ now, the steps, they accelerate
An’ in my head, doubts linger an’ prate
For Burns said the "schemes o' mice an' men"
"Gang aft a-gley"
"An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain"
"For promised joy"
The time has come for final rinse
But my image still, to be viewed hence
Unbidden, I anticipate, with glee
The image I attempt to rear
"An' forward, tho' I canna see,"
"I guess an' fear!"