Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 371

For today’s prompt, write an ekphrastic poem. Ekphrasis sounds kind of complicated, but it’s just a fancy word for using a piece of art to inspire a poem. I’ve included a few images below, but feel free to use your own, including paintings, drawings, and sculptures.

Spiral Staircase on Eiffel Tower

Spiral Staircase on Eiffel Tower

Woman Suffrage Headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio

Woman Suffrage Headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio

Hindenburg Flying Over New York City

Hindenburg Flying Over New York City

Richmond (VA) Flour Mills at End of American Civil War

Richmond (VA) Flour Mills at End of American Civil War

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Here’s my attempt at an Ekphrastic poem:

“23”

Come on in, and you will see
why you should vote for twenty-three–
the best amendment for you and me:
Cast your vote for twenty-three!

We just want equality
with the passage of twenty-three–
the best amendment for you and me:
Cast your vote for twenty-three!

*****

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). As a native Buckeye, he is saddened by the fact that “23” was defeated in Ohio in 1912, another amendment was defeated in 1914, and it took until 1923 for the state to catch up with the United States Constitution amendment ratified on August 18, 1920.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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63 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 371

  1. madeline40

    The light shines on her right cheek
    and a small bit of her pearl earring
    as she turns her bright-eyed gaze upon this viewer.
    With a stark black background her white collar
    and blue and yellow Turkish turban stand out.
    Who was this young girl?
    What was she to Vermeer?
    His daughter? A maid servant?
    Stories abound, but none are proved.

    (Girl with a Pearl Earing by Vermeer, c. 1665-1667)

  2. taylor graham

    BAT ON WHEELS
    drawing of a concept car by Joan Klatil Creamer

    Out of the eaves of evening – this old brick
    house a web of lamplight reflected off glass –

    the Bat flies in a cloud of thunder-dark,
    a cloak of souped-up horsepower,

    zooms up Pacific Street – a zig left a zag right
    quicker than flash of fancy

    right through this old town, up Reservoir,
    finger-touch on steering, nomex boot

    on metal, superhero of swift against gravity –
    or only an image reflected in glass?

  3. taylor graham

    LIGHTNING OVER GOLD HILL

    Whispering equanimity of evening
    here as the foothills dim
    to dark-silk color of a night too
    beautiful, the moon –
    abruptly clouds cloak the hills.
    Distant flash and muffle
    moving closer. Tremendous
    incandescent hieroglyphics aim
    at earth – right here –
    simultaneous with BOOM
    that thunders rock walls then
    gallops east, drawing the next
    boom after it and the next chaotic
    aftershocks
    and at last the blessed rain.

  4. G.Wood

    the volunteers came for the money
    the pay out for a head of hair too tempting to resist,
    and the artist captured each black strand in a twist
    and cleaved the bundle at the nape of the neck,
    took the onyx treasures back to the studio,
    swirled, fanned, and splayed them any way he chose
    polyurethaned them to the canvas,
    pressed them under glass,
    framed them on the wall
    where they became a thing of detached beauty,
    dead and useless,
    while bobs took the trains to the factories
    slept in bunk beds
    had a few warm meals.

    1. ppfautsch24

      Hindenburg Flight
      The moment rises;
      hopes ascending in the air
      above the cloudscape skyline ceiling.
      She could touch it and a crack to fly
      among the stars.
      Water reflects as she navigates the wave
      of daring; soaring to great heights.
      Helium hot air of those who said it couldn’t
      be done and wouldn’t go far.
      Her New York rise to fame; burns flames
      to the doubters and naysayers.
      By Pamelap

  5. madeline40

    The light shines on her right cheek
    and a small bit of her pearl earring
    as she turns her bright-eyed gaze upon this viewer.
    With a stark black background her white collar,
    and her blue and yellow Turkish turban stand out.
    Who was this young girl?
    What was she to Vermeer?
    Many stories abound, but none are proved.

    (Girl with a Pearl Earing by Vermeer, c. 1665-1667)

  6. victoriahunter

    (The Steerage. Painting by Alfred Stieglitz)

    We are all to poor
    and unknown
    to have private rooms
    to sleep and dress

    We’ve all had to cross
    a thin narrow plank of morning light
    with our bodies wildly balanced
    like we are drunk pigs walking a wire

    and we’ve all carried
    one piece of treasure on board
    like grandbabys kiss
    or a well fitting hat,
    or a tool for prayer,
    or a significant note

    and we’ve all closed our eyes..
    to see ourselves born again
    in another chair
    or in another chest
    or in another charm

    and we’ve all asked,
    who or what do we grab on to
    when the ride gets to dark and wild to follow
    like a swamp, in the heart of the night.

  7. qbit

    Ekphrasis
    (From Greek prefix ex- [out] + verb “phrazein” [to explain])

    Without the mudflat smell
    And diesel taste on my tongue,
    I have no story
    For this river and
    This morning,
    Of the motor rip-started,
    The boat heading out
    At low tide.

    Without the bow
    Taking on waves,
    There is no spray of adventure
    To sharply face.
    Unless my ears are tuned to the
    Compass cry of geese,
    I have no way to tell
    Which is twist
    And what is turn.

    Picture this –
    I left my love to sleep
    Warm in bed
    On a cold Fall morning.
    Picture this –
    The unrequited yearning
    Of a long-ago boy
    Heading out on the water
    With a shotgun and his dog.
    Picture this –
    An estuary
    Awake in every sense.

    Is it faithful
    To represent
    Such smaller visions?
    Is it enough to say
    How the ripples of wind
    Across the surface of the water
    Run cross-grain
    To the tide?
    I lack the brush
    God used to paint the sky
    With one stroke of creation.

  8. grcran

    President
    (after Don McLean’s “Vincent”, which was after “Starry Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh)

    Tar-ry tar-ry blight
    Politics America
    Tricky dicks embarrasser
    Aim high shoot lower than a blow should go
    Stickin’ in one’s craw
    Sordid crooked lies galore
    Make us hate despise deplore
    Divide us into red blue black or white
    Now I think I know
    How our voting all should be
    Best avoiding worst hypocrisy
    Liberty equality
    Hope we don’t get this one wrong, Abraham
    Perhaps we’ll soon find out

    gpr crane

  9. lsteadly

    For Freedom

    Brick walls stand naked, empty, bare
    as silence crushes all
    the soldiers left
    the land bereft
    as silence crushes all

    Through history mankind doth brawl
    proving that he is deft
    in waging war
    on any shore
    proving that he is deft

    Now he must rise and bear the heft
    of freedom’s mighty oar
    with strength declare
    that all must share
    of freedom’s mighty oar

    Lest we forget what we fight for
    remember those who dare
    end hatred’s squall
    with love’s fair shawl
    remember those who dare

  10. grcran

    Operation Detachment

    The boys on Iwo Jima raised a flag
    The Cubs from Wrigley Field go on a jag
    They hit they tear the Giants limb from limb
    The bum their pitcher nothing left of him
    The curse-ed goat will soon be far behind
    And Cub fans everywhere will lose their mind
    World Series champs for twenty and sixteens
    Perhaps as proud as six U. S. Marines

    By gpr crane
    (this poem is partly in reference to “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima”, a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal… it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication… and yes, Go Cubs Go!)

  11. Beth Henary Watson

    “Shrap”
    Sculpture by Jerome Andreas

    More present than my presence,
    It’s lodged in me; it twists, creeps
    In microscopic paces,
    Agony-filled reminders
    That certain encounters
    Carry more force than others,
    Strong impacts preventing
    More quotidian concerns
    From taking up residence,
    From making themselves
    Inextricable.

  12. seingraham

    A NEW TAKE ON
    THE BURNING MAN

    At first glance, I think—
    performance art —an actual
    albeit, huge man
    standing there
    It’s hard to understand why
    Then, the scent of candle-wax
    wafts towards me; I realize
    finally, the man’s head
    is melting

    I walk towards the sculpture
    and read the description
    One artist is paying homage
    to another
    Has sculpted a larger-than-life-
    size, absolutely realistic
    replica of an idol
    Then put, what one writer has
    referred to as,’ a candle that
    burns at glacial rate’
    within the head and neck

    At some point, the whole
    thing will, presumably,
    collapse in a waxy puddle
    I find it odd, but interesting
    Less so when I find out
    the fellow being idolized
    is still living

    As I observe the crumpled
    cranium, the already long,
    grey hair, frazzled and dripping
    down the back
    I wonder how the living
    replica feels about this guy.

    Seen in the Whitney Museum in NYC, August 2016 – Urs Fischer’s sculpture dedicated to writer-director Julian Schnabel.
    Photo available here:http://soundofthewordnight.blogspot.ca/2016/10/a-new-take-on-burning-man.html

  13. Anthony94

    Gallego Flour Mills, James River, 1865

    They are the twin towers of centuries to come,
    jabbing the skies with their hundred hollows,
    blown out windows, disappeared walls, bricks
    tossed into the hemispheres of Union and
    Confederate, air rank with the dust of flour and
    burn, air the color of pillage, the river sullied by
    what it saw. Six hundred twenty thousand perished
    in that uncivil war with its rampant destruction of person
    and property. How the considered just cause resonated
    underground below the plantations, moving ever northward.
    Resonates today in varied shades and hues among the blue
    and red of ballrooms, the gaping factories of Detroit and
    Ohio, pooled along a border wall. Fingers raised to some
    heaven like portents then and now, Gardner’s silver print
    on glass like a mirror into which we gaze and wonder.

  14. headintheclouds87

    An Eiffel Without an Elevator

    Only one way up
    Only one way down
    A climb of twists and turns
    Testing our very endurance
    As it claimed our mortal breath,
    With near a thousand steps,
    Not a task for the weak-hearted.
    But at the top lay a sight
    That took breath another way,
    A transcendent view
    Of this city of romance
    That had to truly be earned
    By the strapping explorers
    With the time and energy to burn.

  15. PressOn

    SIGHTSEEING IN PARIS

    Oh! Mister Gallagher! Oh! Mister Gallagher!

    Please tell me what you’re thinking, Mister Shean.

    Just think, we’re way up here
    in the Parisian atmosphere;
    why, a grander spectacle I’ve never seen!

    Oh, Mister Shean, oh, Mister Shean,
    Monsieur Eiffel built this just so he could preen,
    and now we’re up so high
    that we might just fall and die.

    Really, Mister Gallagher?

    Absolutely, Mister Shean!

    NB: Ed Gallagher and Al Shean had a vaudeville act, about a century ago. Shean was the uncle of the Marx Brothers.

  16. Sara McNulty

    Coney Island In Black And White

    Nathan’s, a Mecca in the heart
    of Brooklyn. Every part of a
    child’s fantasy in one place–
    sizzling hot dogs, fat french fries
    peeking out of a paper cone. Could not
    master the art of walking
    while eating fresh corn-on-the-cob
    dripping with butter, but what
    a tantalizing scent. Bent over
    laughing when someone told me
    that Nathan’s sold frog’s legs
    in sandwiches. Thought they were
    teasing, because I was a kid.
    Then I found out they did!
    Still love you, Nathan’s,
    but I will never eat frogs legs,
    bun or no bun.

  17. Connie Peters

    Perspective

    Viewing my daughters pictures
    taken from the Eiffel tower,
    Paris appeared white,
    like dead men’s bones,
    reminiscent of Ezekiel 37:1.
    Whoever called Paris romantic
    mustn’t have had an aerial view.

  18. De Jackson

    {After Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1558}

    Icarus Ponders His Fall

    Should have gotten myself a good
    horse and a plow, some tangible
    now to hold onto with both bold
    hands,
    instead of these waxen whims.

    You’ll find me
    flailing
    as you’re sailing along,
    perhaps a pirate song
    on your tongue, or a twinkle
    in your eye that says the sea
    is your friend today.

    Me,
    notsomuch.

    Say I wanted too much,
    that I wanted to touch
    the boldest light, the
    brightest of all. Say I
    called myself brave,

    (you’ll call me a
    fool)

    say I’ve been schooled
    and won’t do it again,
    but
    I
    just
    might.

    (Do you have a candle
    you can spare?)

    See, I’ve still got
    some small semblance
    of wings,
    and other dreams
    that dare
    to fly
    just too close
    to the sun.

    ::
    See the painting here:
    https://whimsygizmo.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/icarus-ponders-his-fall/

  19. SarahLeaSales

    Static Girls

    Upon waking, she cuts her eyes to the looking glass
    to gaze upon her self-reflection.
    The lass stares back at her—
    changeless—
    the changeling in utero,
    unseen—
    a petrified baby girl
    with her snatchlet of hair and single tooth,
    lies so wee and still in her fetality.

    The unknown lithopedion calcifies
    into intricate stonework,
    and the heart of the lass
    on the living side of the glass.
    She is the mummy of the mummified.

    Her body is a little one’s coffin,
    the lub-dubs of her heart bleating a lullabye,
    the ribcage a home for the little bird
    who has no voice or personhood.
    Her hollow womb is an empty tomb,
    from which no thing will rise or rush,
    or rapidly form.

    She lifts the frame off the hallway wall,
    only to see (through) it was a transparency—
    a capturing of herself in that last month
    before the water and the blood,
    from her wounded body which flowed—
    the afterbirth of instant baptism.

  20. Walter J Wojtanik

    ALPHONSE AND GASTON

    After you…

    We as brothers in life seek to climb
    the Eiffel Tower. One step at a time
    my small French feet make their mark and…

    Eh Hem!
    Pardon Moi. After you…

    As Alphonse has said, he is only ahead
    because a gentleman allows the courtesy.
    And it is agreed. He has tiny feet! And…

    Eh Hem!
    Pardon Moi. After you…

    Gaston is a jealous sort, but that is my cohort
    as we climb. I’m more than pleased if Alphonse
    eased past me to take the lead. (It feed his greed…)

    Eh Hem!
    Pardon Moi. After you…

    Please, please! Au contraire, Alphonse! In this,
    I have no need for greed. My ego is all that drives me.
    It derives me no great pleasure (Except where you, Alphonse, is concerned…)

    Eh Hem!
    Pardon Moi. After you…

    A few step more and we can sure see all of Pa-ree!
    Excuse moi! After you Gaston! No, after you Alphonse!
    But I insist Gaston. I wouldn’t think of it Alphonse…

    After you…!

    © Walter J. Wojtanik –2016

    Spiral Staircase on the Eiffel Tower

    http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-371/attachment/spiral_staircase_on_eiffel_tower

  21. Nancy Posey

    Women’s Suffrage

    I sense a certain disconnect in class today,
    checking written responses to readings
    assigned at least a week ago. For these
    who consider 9/11 far removed, tales told
    by grandparents, the History Channel,
    have no context for the true distant past.

    When in response to a question about
    women’s suffrage, I should not be shocked
    to read, “I’m against women’s suffrage.
    Women have suffered enough!” I resist
    the urge to fill the margin with red-penned
    outrage, sarcasm, disappointment. For now,
    I’d best convince them of their need to vote.

  22. Nancy Posey

    Guilt
    After Ball Jar with Lemon by Susan Grant

    She could never make it come out even.
    Too many bananas turning brown
    required a day of baking bread after,
    of course, a quick trip to the store
    for baking powder. She wished
    she could just enjoy the apple trees
    and pear in the back yard, flowering
    then hanging heavy with fruit.
    Instead, she dried them, canned them,
    froze them, baked stacks of pies.

    The ratio of produce to empty jars,
    to freezer space always resulted
    in a remainder. Sometimes she cursed
    the chore,her hands swollen
    from shelling peas, cutting corn
    from the cob, slicing apples. No one
    knew her divided feelings. To them,
    her family, her friends, neighbors
    receiving a jar of her fig preserves,
    her summer labor, winter bounty
    must have filled her with pride.

    http://hickoryart.org/current-exhibitions/

  23. Walter J Wojtanik

    OH, THE HUMANITY?

    Lighter than air over the New city,
    the grace and beauty of her opulent
    decent looked at in awe by the millions
    below, a slow pan from right to left.
    Up in the air they are unaware
    that they are the talk of the town.
    Down on the ground, folks like ants
    can’t get a clue. Oh, the humanity?
    They do not believe there’s a chance
    of air borne disaster from the sky.

    © Walter J. Wojtanik

    Hindenberg Flying Over New York City

    http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-371/attachment/hindenburg_over_new_york

  24. tripoet

    Only a Jantzen Fits So Perfectly

    Standing backward on tip-toe
    at diving board’s end, hands on hips
    atop matching flawless legs,
    bracelets dangling like haikus
    on your wrist, your lean waist,
    a sonnet of possibilities, your form
    covered in authenticity, nothing
    hidden from us in your fresh colored
    bathing costume, your head leans on air,
    your nose points to the heavens
    as if an indication of where you plan
    to end up, for you are perfection.

  25. taylor graham

    CONCEPT CAR
    automotive design drawing by George Camp

    This time machine – the future in its
    windswept lines, its top transparent to the stars.
    Flight-propelled by fancy with unseen gears
    linked to engineering – am I ready
    yet to go there? Does this marvel have
    a trunk roomy enough for
    memory? Is there a reverse?
    I mean, can this time machine on wheels
    go backward, to pick up what we’ve lost along
    the way? This potholed road
    we’ve come adventuring, finding so much
    to marvel, regret and praise –
    the breakdowns and their waiting views
    of sunrise off the dusty shoulder.

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