with thanks to Katrina Morrison, host of Ethical ELA’s Tuesday Open Write. Katrina writes: “The worlds of art and poetry meet in the ekphrastic poem. Whether you are viewing an original work in a museum or viewing it virtually, describing it through poetry is the definition of ekphrastic poetry.” Poet Ada Limón shares this reflection in The Slowdown podcast 780: “One of the things I love about art is how we bring ourselves to whatever it is we are experiencing. Whether we want to or not, we see ourselves in the film, the poem, the painting, the song.”
I write of the artwork that came to mind first; I was not the first to see myself in it…
Long ago your father gave me a card with a painting of a woman in a long white chemise holding a basket of ripe tomatoes in her thin arms
her body is curved toward the child at her feet
an overall-clad boy with a mass of sunlit curls atop his head bent in eating a tomato straight from the vine
your father said the painting so reminded him of you and me
your curls were black of course instead of gold and I was never a gardener
yet I can smell the tangy greenness of tomato plants as the summer sun beats down over the rolling hills and old barns and tall yellowing grasses rippling in the wind
could be a scene from around the bend
I feel the warm tomato skins under my hand
as I think of the abundance I have been given
—take, eat, my summer child of the bounty of the vine so deeply rooted so long ago
with thanks to Kim Johnson for the inspiration on Ethical ELA’s Open Write today. Kim offers the monostitch form: “a strong sense of connection between a title and a poem of one line inspires the writer to consider the relationship between the title and the word.”
And so I share an observation from today…
Heaven’s So Near
Little girl sings The cattle are lowing…preacher-Grandpa’s face is streaked with tears.
Here’s a two-line version, for good measure:
Heaven is Near Little girl plays in the floor, singing so pure, so clear: The cattle are lowing… Preacher-man Grandpa rests in his recliner, listening, face streaked with tears.
House finches are regular nesters in my front door wreath from Eastertime through the summer; I have not been aware of their remaining so close by in the autumn months. They aren’t nesting now and as yet I haven’t ascertained where exactly they’re living, only that it’s somewhere near the porch. I see them fly when we pull up in the driveway, and when we open the front door. I can’t even get a good look at them; they’re being evasive.
Their presence lifts my spirit immeasurably: Take heart, be of good cheer, we are still here… the fluttering of wings was so near my face when I opened the door in the dark after hearing the familiar bird voice. It wasn’t alarming. Out in the yawning chasm of night flew the little bird, with my soul tethered to it by inexplicable hope.