I was a boy, a prince in a fairytale world destroyed by death’s-head invaders. The magpie–one for sorrow– followed me across the sea to remind me I was alone, but so was he, alone together
like so many. The green mounds and chalk downs became my refuge, this foreign fossil-filled soil fertilized love and fostered hearts—bandaging mine, strengthening me with a steady diet of affection.
What’s left of my hair is grey now, my stouter step supported by a stick. I walk through my memories, the hill where I stumbled, the dale where I proposed—
this is home now. The squeak of garden gate, the kaleidoscope of blooms—and butterflies. A magpie couple call to each other—I think, two for joy.
For Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge featuring the work of artists Aaron Bowker, Beth Brooke, Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad, and Sara Fatima Mir. You can see today’s art and poems here.
For some reason that I can’t explain, the man in the Aaron Bowker’s sketch made me think of my blogger-friend Derrick Knight’s friend Wolf, who had arrived in England as part of the Kindertransport. The poem is not about Wolf, but perhaps someone like him.
The sky is first lemon, then orange, the air whispers with dry citrus humor as we crunch through the russet leaves of last year’s promise, heels shuffle-tapping on cobblestones that cover the detritus of centuries.
A single leaf falls, silently like the “e” on hope. Or love. The sunrise is a question echoed by birds in short chirps and longer trills.
You take my hand. I let you. We walk on.
A poem for my ekphrastic prompt on dVerse today. This painting makes me think of paths in Old City Philadelphia.
Sarah’s ekphrastic prompt at dVerse featured the art of Lee Madgwick. The prompt closed before I got a chance to respond, but here is my poem inspired by this painting. I may write more inspired by the others.
Grey-furred clouds sit cat-like ready to pounce
a breeze strokes the marsh grass— sighs at the water-whispers,
secret murmurs heard by fish and birds who swim and fly, here and gone because
time here is as fluid as the endless river before me
going nowhere or everywhere, ebbing and flowing concurrently
like conversations at a holiday dinner where words from the past linger
and mingle with what is spoken and what is left unsaid,
a barred door or one open to possibility,
this world of dreams is one universe of many where stars hum far in the distance.
Now an empty boat waits for me, I will enter and exit many times
Day 30 inspired by all three works. This is the final day of the month-long challenge. This is a san san.
A rainbow in my dreams– cantaloupe sky, pink quartz beach, and light-drenched trees dripping green, gold, blue. Here birds stop to perch on chromatic rocks. Yet nothing remains as it seems– shadows come, even within dreams, my mind sees but also alters. Gulls become robins whose birdsong brings dawn-light to forest—now, color-spray the birch with rainbow stripes and feathers. In dreams, my heart sings.
Thank you to Paul Brookes for hosting this April Ekphrastic Challenge. It has been a wonderful experience. You can see the art and read the other responses by going to Paul’s site here.
The artists are Gaynor Kane, John Phandal Law, and Anjum Wasim Dar. Thank you for your wonderful and inspiring art! I’m giving them a round of applause–and also one for the other poets! 👏
The child presses her face against the window glass, watches as the sun sinks into the sea and the first stars appear in the sky. She makes a wish as one streaks, burns, and falls vanishing like her neighbors. (“Poor things,” her mother had said when she saw their yellow stars.) She wonders if they will send her a postcard from wherever they are, and if she can change her wish– to see them again, the doctor with the kind eyes and his playful daughters with their flowing-wheat hair.
The child, older now, presses her face against a now-cracked window, watches the stars in a clear sky, the bombs silenced, she hears wind-murmurs of hope returned and dreams remembered bittersweet, like chocolate she ate—before. She sees in streams of starlight a vision sowed in sparkling silver waves, and hopes her long-ago wish will take root and grow.
I was writing something else, and the memory of painting above just popped into my head. One doesn’t ignore those things. I went looking for it in my posts and found a poem I had written several years ago. I’ve revised it slightly. Today is Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), sundown 27 April to sundown 28 April. The current war in Ukraine and the rise of authoritarian governments everywhere, makes this seem particularly timely. In one of the horrible ironies of this time, Jews, including Holocaust survivors, have fled Ukraine to seek refuge in Berlin. Sharing this with Open Link Night on dVerse.