A quickie for the NaPoWriMo prompt referring to an art form other than writing. The woman in the August Macke painting looks uncannily familiar.


If I could paint

a painter I’d be

but these things are decided

when fingers are still stubby tools

for grubbing in the dirt after earthworms and beetles,

forced to shape themselves to uncompromising ivory keys

to grip skinny slippery pencils

and form symbols of another’s creation.

If I could

I would

but paint is a river

an ocean too glorious and uncontrollable

too close to the rolling weaving

water and wind-swept tableau

of another’s creation.

Words instead tumble and trickle

salamanders from a volcanic pit

to be captured and shaped

before they scuttle back into their secret caves

pinned to a page where they glow


That’s the theory anyway.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

12 thoughts on “Salamanders”

  1. I agree, this has a nice flow, and I agree with the thoughts, too. (I got the word gene, not the visual gene.)
    That is funny about the painting resembling someone you know. Maybe a past life. 🙂

  2. I read your line about the painting and looked straight over to your gravatar photo. Even from that tiny image I could see the connection.. how special!

    1. August Macke and Franz Marc are among my favourite painters. Founders of Der Blaue Rieter group and both killed in WWI. I’m pleased that August Macke painted me in a previous existence 🙂

  3. For a while I stopped looking for paintings to illustrate poems, took too much time, and I was beginning to think it was all a waste of time anyway. I know what I’m looking for now, and poetry has become more important to me so let’s let rip with the artwork 🙂

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