For centuries, stairs have symbolized journeys, rites of passage,
transitions, and stages of life in art, literature, and music.
My Soul. I summon to the winding ancient stair;
Set all your mind upon the steep ascent,
Upon the broken, crumbling battlement,
Upon the breathless starlit air,
‘Upon the star that marks the hidden pole;
Fix every wandering thought upon
That quarter where all thought is done:
Who can distinguish darkness from the soul
– William Butler Yeats
Stairs are climbed step by step.
– Turkish Proverb
Children’s stories tell tales of boys and girls discovering treasures upstairs in the attic and fearing what is downstairs in the basement.
Faith is taking the first step even when
you don’t see the whole staircase.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Man, unlike anything organic or inorganic in the universe,
grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts,
emerges ahead of his accomplishments.
– John Steinbeck
My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be
through Earth’s loveliness.
Mt. Popa, Burma
The stairway climbs a 300-foot lava plug crowned by Buddhist temples.
Mother to Son
Well, Son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor —
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now —
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
– Langston Hughes
Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where i sit.
there isn’t any
i’m not at the bottom,
i’m not at the top;
so this is the stair
Halfway up the stairs
And it isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn’t really
It’s somewhere else
– A.A. Milne
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17 replies on “Upstairs, Downstairs”
My goodness, Steve, once again there is so much poetry in those images besides the beautiful words which accompany them. Thank you so much for sharing the beauty of people and places, raw and natural. You are a gift to mankind. Merci! Cécilia
I’ve always been drawn to stairs. I love these pictures! Especially the blue steps in Jodhpur, India.
I love how your work reflects thoughtful life and the wisdom in the poems imparts. As my life unfolds, I can relate to the photo and the many people I met in my work profession as a social worker. Thank you for adding to my life.
I always marvel at the way you capture emotion in your work, outstanding portfolio.
Love the photos. The poetry is superb. Thank you for this art treat.
Your work evokes unfathomable emotions.
Love the poetry 🙂 🙂
Thank you – again. ♥
Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
‘Must watch’ photography!! … “For centuries, stairs have symbolized journeys, rites of passage, transitions, and stages of life in art, literature, and music.”
I am in love with this series. What a title “Upstairs/Downstairs” and masterpieces to form the series are all true gems of photographic history. Your work is one good thing in earth I wait for. So lucky to witness these iconic photographs and comment. Salute Sir! 🙏🏻🙏🏻❤
Beautiful, moving, intense, brilliant. Thank you
Stairs of emotions. Scales of beauty.
Lovely, one of your best compilations. Your work, your introspection are beautiful. Thank you!
Wow, those stairs in India! Love all the images, but the ones in India makes one pause!
Steve, What a beautiful post- So many of the images and the quotes and poems resonate with me. I cannot believe it was just a year ago that we were in St. Louis to celebrate you inducted into the Hall of Fame. I was a fan of your work before that but I hear your voice now in all you post and share. Have a wonderful holiday season!
You are my all time favourite 🙏