Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 385

For today’s prompt, write an ekphrastic poem. That is a poem based on a piece of visual art–a painting, a photograph, a sculpture. Your choice. If you have something in mind already, go with it. If not, here are a few images to get you started.

old_car_race

old_rural_bridge

old_poker_game

world_war_i

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Here’s my attempt at an Ekphrastic poem:

“A Girl”

He fell for a girl
when he was still young
but couldn’t say the words
so he grabbed a gun

and received a mask,
a spear, and a horse
dreaming of that girl
who married, of course,

another fellow
who lived like a dove
as the hawks fought hard
for their secret loves.

*****

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). And he loves ekphrastic poems.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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64 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 385

    1. ppfautsch24

      Wall of Dreams
      Walls
      high above
      the clouds built
      where my thoughts emerge
      toppling over cliffs to arise
      imagination, a winding stone’s throw away
      wanting to runaway from dreams of you
      that can’t be scaled again, leaving me winded
      with walls of dreams I can’t get over you.
      By Pamelap

  1. qbit

    Portrait of a Man in a Red Cap

    Auction paddle in hand,
    A modern Lord of Verona
    Covets a painting by Titian.
    Real ermine has lost its touch
    And costs too much to dry clean.
    Nobility and a coat of arms
    No longer bend sinister
    The local maidenhead.
    (Though a Ferrari
    In the parking lot
    Is not without its charms.)

    He was once
    The Gonzaga,
    The Scaliger,
    The Savoyard.
    Entitled nonetheless,
    His mother at least calls him
    Il Faviloso..

    He watches his great-grandfather’s eyes
    As the gavel falls on them once again.
    His ancestral soul
    Has always gone
    To the highest bidder.

  2. RuthieShev

    Because He Died, We Live2
    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

    His life He chose to give
    Because He died, we live
    It wasn’t something He had to do
    He chose to do it for me and for you
    He took that torturous walk up hill
    I can’t believe I’m a sinner still
    And hurting Him by the things I say
    Or how often I forget to pray
    He died for us that painful death
    So we can have some living breath
    His humanity He was willing to give
    It was because He died, we live

    (I was looking at several of the paintings of the Crucifixion by Matthias Grunewald when I wrote this poem).

  3. grcran

    art american-style

    the mickey mouse timepiece
    we watched it with love
    Tom Hanks & DaVinci
    hands point as they prove
    why cover the mouse feet
    clock ticks but won’t move
    what’s there we all wonder
    under mickey’s glove

    gpr crane

  4. taylor graham

    LOOK CLOSER
    a photograph of Wakamatsu Pond

    How did the eye behind the lens
    find beauty on this pond in a drying Fall
    after the drought of Summer?
    The shore’s a jigsaw of cracked-hard mud
    rimming the water that’s a puzzle
    of ripples moving ever outward and away –
    a scatter of wild geese about to lift off,
    heading south for Winter. Across
    the pond, a march of turkeys
    as if from prehistoric ages. But that’s not
    the focus. Look closer. A network
    of rooting runners binds the shore to its
    pond, where a tiny frog peers
    at the camera. Half a dozen blue dragonflies
    are not quite camouflaged as glint
    off what’s left of water.
    And one unidentifiable pale flower
    blooms from those dull brown runners.
    The photographer keeps pointing
    close and closer, so you almost miss,
    on the opposite shore, a sudden
    egret too white to be real.

  5. mayboy

    THE COPY

    Her beauty enchained my eyes,
    like a reptile’s tail hit the ground.
    I admired her silhouette painted in
    a variety of colors shade, while
    the shapes revealed the outer space,
    secrets hidden under the layers of
    details which painters finger led
    the taste of ancient bridge to nowadays.

    The player didn’t show his tarot card. He
    waited until the end of winning smile.
    Everlasting smile always digs into
    your mind wonders if it is more
    left behind the color of the play.
    The reality of the day: I stood
    in the front of the fake frame.

  6. grcran

    soup can icon

    (note: Andy Warhol died 2-22-1987, thirty years to the day, before this poetry prompt posted)

    soupcon art
    soup can pop
    can soup can
    soup can sop
    iconic tomato
    plus thirty-one more
    plain red white black label
    tin can at the core
    pop-art counter-culture
    American chic
    can soup can
    soup can leak

    gpr crane

  7. Walter J Wojtanik

    WARRIOR HORSEMAN

    He rides with the cavalry,
    a rider astride his steed.
    Much in need at times such as these.
    He wishes to please his regiment,
    for God and for country. No one
    sees what goes on inside
    his heart and head. Instead
    they see a horseman
    out for a jaunt on his mount
    his lance in tow. They cannot know.
    They do not account for
    the battle fatigue and the league
    of fellow combatants. They do not
    know the fear that is inherent here.
    No one feels the internal conflict,
    they just inflict their jabs
    and criticisms. Aimed at him for doing
    what others would not dare.
    He does not scare easily, but the queasy
    knot in his belly turns his knees to jelly.
    A war monger he is not, but he’s got a duty.
    His horse is as brave as he,
    an extension of his resolve, a weapon.
    He reckons if lucky, he’ll retire to the peace
    of mind he anticipates. His loved one waits
    for his return. Both hope that mission
    is accomplished. His horse and he.

    © Walter J. Wojtanik – 2017

    Poetic Asides Prompt #385: Ekphrastic Poem – “World War I”

  8. Sara McNulty

    Poker At The Longhorn

    All patrons are facing table,
    wondering if Handsome Jim will be able
    to keep his winning streak.
    Other players’ faces are bleak.
    Blonde Betty is betting on Jim,
    Juan peers out from under brim
    of his sombrero. Coonskin Bob,
    rifle in hand, hopes his job
    will not be breaking up liquor-soaked men.
    Could be a shootout, thinks barkeep, Ben.
    All blonde Betty wants is time to sup
    with Handsome Jim, so ante up!

  9. Beth Henary Watson

    Weeping Willow (Claude Monet, 1919)
    Kimbell Art Museum

    I am compelled to visit you, and often,
    To leave out from amongst what’s new in search of
    Your permanent sadness, greens browns blues dripping
    Alongside every other color, all the
    World in one painting, grieving yet beautiful
    Still, still alive beside the red red water.

  10. De Jackson

    Many stone steps, going somewhere soon.

    We crave the cobbling of days,
    the ways that things unthrown

    might add up to some pathway,
    some intricate up. Some cup

    more than half full. Runneth
    over. We live in glass houses,

    under glass ceilings, grass roofs
    greener on a million other sides.

    We mow. We know. We hide
    our many selves behind time and

    tide and the twisted masonry of
    now. We build bridges of our sighs,

    our whys, our wise men waiting.
    Our wishes, want. Our whispered

    haunted nothings. We pebble praise.
    We raise one step at a time. Rise.

    ::

  11. SarahLeaSales

    On Andy Warhol

    You took Marilyn’s face,
    & the collective who
    designed the Campbell’s soup label.
    What did you do but copy
    Hollywood’s creation,
    & someone else’s designs,
    immortalizing processed soup
    & a real dish?

  12. seamuscorleone

    Expectations (Nighthawks by Hopper: )

    The diner doesn’t fill up until
    The bars let out.

    I sit at the counter and watch
    A man and his woman dressed
    For going out but they’re here
    And not looking at each other.

    Something did not go right with their evening, either.

    A quiet counter on a quiet street in a
    Loud town, my thoughts loud, the drip of
    Coffee.

    Do you have to be lonely when you’re alone?

    Being alone here is somehow more alone than
    Being in my room by myself. Perhaps it’s the
    Possibility of company that bothers me, or the
    Eyes glancing my way over manicured nails and
    Steaming cups of joe, cigarette smoke obscuring
    Their eyes. Soon it will be just me and the man paid
    To be here.

    The counter has the smell of eggs fried in bacon fat and
    The feel of the air is electric and heavy like before it rains.

    I wonder if the couple knows each other well and if this
    Will be their last night together or if this
    Is just one of many disappointing nights
    That will not go as expected.

  13. headintheclouds87

    Silent Heights

    Solitary roads so often hide
    In the cover of elevation
    Where the turmoil of the surface
    Cannot hope to break through,
    There is only peace in these peaks
    Free of the burdens of the ground.

    Here in these silent heights
    Are narrow, makeshift steps,
    Precariously placed, perhaps,
    Winding eternally in and around
    The ancient giants of rock
    That watch tiny mortals tread across.

    The climb is one worth the struggle
    For up here, where twin titans
    Are conjoined by path of stone
    Is a truly sublime and magical vision
    Of both mist-cloaked mountains above
    And the deep, gaping chasm below.

    The quiet contentment this view brings
    Washes over like a phantom wave
    Which unveils the true, hidden nature
    Of this meek and reserved world
    That will continue to cast its beauty
    In spite of all the strife within.

  14. Shennon

    Inspired by a Nicoletta Ceccoli painting

    Humpty Dumpty
    You silly bloke
    You sat on a wall
    You fell, you broke

    When the King’s horses
    Discovered your yolk
    They all began
    To cough and choke

    The King’s men failed
    Their masterstroke
    They broke the news
    To all townsfolk

    A riot incurred
    Amidst fire and smoke
    A dare went awry
    No longer a joke.

    –ShennonDoah

  15. deringer1

    CHAVEZ

    He sits on a wall, the bronze Senator
    so casual, with no more power
    but for memories, forgotten,
    yet he had his hour.

    In his office, unassuming in appearance,
    sitting with unlit cigar,
    one could not guess that
    such a man could go that far.

    But here in his hometown now
    he sits, just like he used to do,
    on a curb to have a chat, comfortable
    there as an old shoe.

  16. Anthony94

    Bridge of Sighs, Yemen

    Shaharah slides across the tongue, home
    to Zainab al-Shahariah, famous female poet.

    Did she stand on stone steps leading down
    from Jabal al Emir or pause above the canyon roiling
    a half mile below?

    Did she climb the other side to Jabal al Faish
    to find words that now I fail to find?

    Did she refresh herself from one of the many
    cisterns dotting the rugged slopes outside
    of Sanaa as she pondered why Salah al-Yaman
    lost his mind after laying the last stone?

    Was it simply from exhaustion or was it one
    too many bridges built higher and higher until
    the final arches that form this Bride of Sighs?

    Was it railing against the rumors of magicians
    that built some connecting span surreptitiously?
    Did she write about his demise even as she penned

    lines trembling as the Turks launched invasions in
    that century so remote from ours and did she rail
    against the very isolation of those mountains
    or celebrate the fierceness of crags and her people?

    Here in Kansas limestone anchors fences and cathedrals,
    runs for some three million acres. In Yemen it’s ground
    for cement, exported to bordering countries to build
    and rebuild where tribes war and bombs fall.

    Poets and limestone: the stuff of new bridges.

  17. taylor graham

    Flood

    You were caught in that abstract
    on cannibals, a paragraph so considered,
    famished yet dense of words, it became
    a labyrinth. You floundered in academic
    treatise, legend, taboo, survival,
    a history of man eat man.

    You put the journal down, opened
    your door, and walked not carelessly but
    as leaf-fall down to the river
    raging under its bridge of skulls stairs
    and stone eroding
    yet still standing. Walk across.

    [inspired by the old bridge]

  18. Connie Peters

    Lineage

    When my parents died
    and we five girls
    divvied up their belongings,
    I became a proud owner
    of a WWI uniform,
    stuffed in a leather bag,
    smelling like death.

    The helmet, gas mask,
    pants and shirt, brown,
    and, oh, so small,
    must have shrunk
    over the century
    because my grandfather
    wasn’t that petite.

    Or was he,
    at twenty-something?
    I also inherited
    my dad’s WWII hat,
    my oldest sister, his purple heart
    for a head wound.
    It’s a wonder we’re here at all.

  19. PressOn

    THOUGHTS OF A REDNECK ROOKIE

    The NASCAR world is shiny
    and regulated;
    too corporate and tepid
    for my soul and taste.
    I’d be overjoyed
    to be racing in the day
    with the good old boys.

  20. PowerUnit

    Progress

    We’ve overcome impassible features,
    mountains, man was never supposed to climb,
    plains, our raw hands useless, our bared teeth
    defenseless against wolfish hunger.

    Deep gorges with no fords, diverted
    hordes of migrants, separated from distant lands,
    unconverted by the hand of man,
    until he discovered his opposable thumbs.

    Today we have new walls, virtual walls
    barriers to thought and progress,
    political walls, strong enough
    to bash the toughest skulls.

    We’ll get there, but maybe not en-masse,
    a few bright Barts think they’ve figured it out,
    plot an alternate path, doomed to fail
    for those with a thumb stuck up their ass.

  21. Walter J Wojtanik

    MAKE JEDDHA GREAT AGAIN

    The temple has been defaced.
    There is no trace of life to be seen.
    True, the hills are green and you’ve seen
    holograms in the archives.
    But you can feel it! It surrounds you.
    It confounds you that something
    so strong within you can run
    so hot and cold, so light and dark!
    The stark reality is you are the last
    man standing. Commanding your force
    of one. No one would have blamed you
    for eschewing your ancient weapon
    and hokey religion and flying Solo
    with a blaster at your side.
    But now you hide among the ruins,
    stewing over every bad turn you take.
    Make no mistake, you are the balance.
    Under the valance of doubt and darkness
    you hearken back to the farm
    where you were just a naïve and charming boy.
    Your father should have warned you,
    but you would have resisted anyway.
    You’ve climbed the stairs to your new station,
    to bring order to this planet nation. And the galaxy.
    Your new adventure awaits!

    © Walter J. Wojtanik – 2017

    Poetic Asides Prompt #385: Ekphrastic Poem – “Old Rural Bridge”

  22. Walter J Wojtanik

    RUSH HOUR

    Take the 90 to the 33,
    ralph it to the 198.
    Pray to God you’re not late
    because the traffic sucks.
    You’re stuck under
    the overpass and your gas
    gauge is nearing “E”.
    You see an accident up ahead
    and you dread that you will
    be stuck here until Erie thaws.
    Your hands are white knuckled claws,
    pawing your steering wheel.
    You feel the angst and frustration.
    There is no elation, this is how
    your daily commute goes.
    It gets even worse when it snows!
    No love for rush hour in Buffalo!

    © Walter J. Wojtanik – 2017

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