November Ekphrastic challenge: Day 4

Yes, I know, most eyes are rivetted on the vote count, but still, the ekphrastic challenge goes on. Both images, by Marcel Herms (Angry white mouse) and Terry Chipp (Consider the night) are appropriate for this poem.

4MH Angry white mouse (get a life), mixed media on paper, 19,5 x 22,5 cm, 2020


Night walkers

Night closes about the timid,
the mouse-hearted,
and it pads soft
as the anaesthetist’s rubber soled shoes,
bringing the solace
of silver and silence
to the dear departed.


TC4. Considering the night



Was it admirable, her patronage of the arts,
finesse, distinction, a sign of higher than the common
sensitivity, discernment, appreciation of beauty?

Was it a quality, that ability to spend a fortune
(how gotten is obscure but probably in the usual way)
on luxury and extravagance?

What a woman, some say, fingering
the painted silks of her dress, pretending
to trace nobility in the hard lines of her features.

What a way to go out, blowing it all
and scavenging for ostrich feathers,
not food, in the dustbins.

Yet where is the nobility in gold slippers and champagne
with millions of war dead, famine, depression
and the rise of fascism’s hideous head?

Where is the beauty in those hard, painted eyes
that looked away while children starved and empires fell,
that gazed into the fire while the world crawled on its knees?

Art exists
despite wealth
not because of it.


Written for the Ekphrastic challenge. I like this painting by Edgar Ende that has lots of possible interpretations. Mine wasn’t chosen, but I’m pleased to say that Merril and Kerfe both had poems in the selection, and the third sister is represented by Kim.

You can read all of the poems here.



Bucephalus, ox-head, all fright and flight,

gave his trust to the man who saw his shadow.


Icarus, swollen-head, all dreams of flight to dizzy height,

trusted in his own ego and saw his shadow


rush up to meet him from the wine dark

and implacable pavement of the sea.


The chosen poems for the Ekphrastic Review challenge are published today. You can read them here, There are some very good ones among them.

The painting is by Marianne von Werefkin, and I think it’s tremendous. Neither of the poems I submitted was selected but I enjoyed writing to this prompt so here’s one of them anyway.





Timeless the scene, the bowed, hunched backs,

All dressed in black the women walk,

Silent as night without moon or stars.


With their worldly goods, the light of the world

On their shoulders bent, the women walk;

Timeless the scene, the bowed, hunched backs.


Invisible, ghosts, mere holes in the day,

In the shadow of walls dressed proud by men,

All dressed in black the women walk.


Bundled in white is the light on their backs,

Though weary they walk dressed in black, unheard,

Silent as night without moon or stars.