The Poem

Here it is the poem I promised last week.

This is one of the poems I wrote for my ekphrastic poetry class.  The class was a generative class so the idea was to look at a picture and create a poem from it.  This class was even more focused as we studied still life or “Nature Morte” paintings. These are images depicting inanimate objects.  Nature Morte literally translates to, “dead nature” can get a bit depressing as the items in the paintings often represent our darker nature.  The pictures are also frozen in time and it’s left to the viewer to figure out what happened before or after the image was captured.

It’s difficult to pick which poem to share, but I’ve decided on my poem, Remembering.  The painting inspiring this poem is Rachel Ruysch’s Forest Floor with a Classical Facade Beyond.  This work dates to the Dutch Golden Age of painting in the late 17th and 18th centuries. Ruysch enjoyed great fame and reputation in her lifetime and her works sold for more money than other artists of her time.  Still life and nature were her most common subjects and she was known for the detail of her painting.

Here is the original painting we viewed: 

Part of the assignment was to take a photo that recreates the original painting using only things we have in our home.  We couldn’t go out and buy stuff.  The idea was to stretch our creativity into another medium while being forced to do some creative reinterpretation of the art.

Here’s my picture:

The house in the picture is a model of the home where Heather grew up in England.  She made the model many years ago and I borrowed it.  I was drawn to the house in the original painting so I wanted that to be the main element in my version.  The house had a mystery to it and suggested that it was abandoned but in the past would have been the focus of the scene.  I recreated my version of the flowers using quilting fabrics.  When I took the photo there weren’t any blooms in our garden and so I had to make do.  If you look carefully at the original art you’ll notice flowers in there that don’t bloom at the same time during the year giving us a clue that Ruysch may have taken months or even years to complete this still life.

I titled my poem Remembering because that was the feeling I had during my free-writing time with the original painting.  There is something in this picture that speaks strongly to the past and someone remembering what used to be happening at this house.

Here’s that poem:

Remembering

after Rachel Ruysch’s “Forest Floor with a Classical Facade Beyond”

Before the vine started growing out of Clara’s heart.
Before nature took it back.
When we thought electric cars and vaccine would save us all.
Wonderful days.
Clara would run and laugh and chase butterflies.
She’d ride the scooter around the pond.
Trees, paths, the garden.
Ahh, the old house.

———————————-

And that’s it for this week.  Do let me know what you think of this poem and what you think of ekphrastic poetry.

I think I’ll be writing a few more of this kind of poem.

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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32 Responses to The Poem

  1. It’s beautiful, thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Neeraj says:

    that was beautiful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a wonderful way to exercise the mind. Love your Poem. Did everyone in the class had an entirely different take on the subject?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Debra says:

    I’m very drawn to this kind of poetry, and your submission is really very special, Andrew. I really appreciate it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The Poem – Nelsapy

  6. Baydreamer says:

    I’ve never heard of this type of poetry and yours is wonderful, Andrew. Loved the painting and your recreation, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I had never heard of that type of poetry before, but I really love the premise of it. As you know, I love art and looking at something artistic can take us into a story. You did a beautiful job of telling your version of the story of the painting. It was beautiful! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well done on all counts from the still life you created to mimic the given painting and the poem. I’ve never tried writing ekphrastic poetry but then again I haven’t really written much poetry at all since my college days — and that was a long time ago!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your poem is enigmatic, and really suits the atmosphere of the original painting. I love your still life, too – very creative!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Well done! Sharing…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Well done. That class sounds pretty good.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Lovely house your wife made of HER home and your artistic talents showing too. Poetry — not really my thing, but it sounds nice, so can’t really comment.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. This is definitely a new type of poetry to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. jfwknifton says:

    That is one of your best poems for me. Very, very good. My only quibble would be the very last line, in particular the “Ahh” and the fact the “the old house” is a bit of a cliché. I would look at the idea of making that one last line a stand alone line, one perhaps sums up or gives a clue to the whole poem’s situation or even meaning. But overall, this poem is really very very good and not just for the fact that it is the first one that you have shown us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think this is one of the better poems I wrote, at least this is the one I was most drawn to. The last line is one of the weaker lines and it might get edited before I share this one again. Thanks!

      Like

  15. SusanR says:

    “Ekphrastic” is a new word for me. The whole process is intriguing. I’d have expected to go directly from studying the painting to writing the poem. I too liked your first two lines. I’d have never thought of anything like that. But nature will surely reclaim everything in the end.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve tried going from study directly to writing, but I found the visual creative step in between really helped my understanding of what I wanted to say about the original art.

      Like

  16. lifelessons says:

    Love your poem, Andrew. Especially the first two lines.

    Liked by 2 people

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