Pareidolia poem

From Greek para “beside, alongside” and eidolon, “image, form, shape,” pareidolia is the misperception of a stimulus as something familiar to the observer. The brain is, after all, a pattern-seeking device… surely that is why poetry speaks to us so…

Riding in the car, zipping past
Sunlit dappling shadows cast
Through trees, racing, racing fast
A speeding journey to the last.

Above in the sky I see
That you are following after me
Swiftly sailing your airy sea
Marking my passage, tree to tree.

There in your ethereal shroud
Where silence reigns so blue, so loud
Fleeting as life, warning the proud
Face of mourning in the cloud.


In celebration of Poetry Friday … for more offerings visit Whispers on the Ridge – thanks for hosting, Kiesha.

15 thoughts on “Pareidolia poem

    • I felt that as the subject matter was light, brief, even whimsical, the poem should also be ,,, yet that cloud-face appears grieved or aghast over something it sees from its temporal perch up there in the atmosphere. Thanks so very much for your words, Linda.

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  1. Wow, is this your picture, too? I love learning a new word & you’ve written a poem for it, too. Like Linda, that first line with “zipping past” seems so light-hearted, then zoom, the ending. Well done, Fran, taking us along for this ride.

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    • A friend snapped the photo and sent it to me, wondering if I’d want to write about it. Took awhile to gel, although poetry quickly asserted itself as the vehicle – rather demanded to be the form. Thank you for your words, Linda!

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  2. I’m always seeing things in clouds. Your poem has a lilt rhythm to it, and yet turns its tone to “mourning”. This contrast works well to draw the reader’s attention. Thanks for the new word!

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  3. Thanks for teaching a new word to me and for this beautiful poem to illustrate. I am struck by the turn from lightness to mourning–powerful. And who knew you could get a cloud a day pic? What fun!

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  4. Fran, this image in the sky afforded you the opportunity to introduce us to a new word. From this a poem developed. I especially like how this poem evolved. Your crafting of it shared layers of your thought process leading to the last line. I often look for faces within the swirls of my bathroom tiles. Each time I do so, I seem to find another face. Now, I have a word to define what I am seeing: pareidolia is the misperception of a stimulus as something familiar to the observer.

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