I wrote these two poems for the Ekphrastic prompt and didn’t send them in, thinking they probably weren’t what was required. You can read the entries here.

Kohbar of Mithila, painting by Padma Shri Sita devi. Contemporary rendition of traditional Mithila style painting. Photo by Sumanjha1991. CC BY-SA 4.0


The sun shines today

Suns shine for you today,
and the lotus root springs high and virile,

and every moment of this day and the next
for ever and ever amen, the faces will watch,

and you hope they will smile,
not at your pleasure

but at your head bowed in duty
to the tall and mighty lotus root.

Make is swell and quiver, and the sun
will beam on its sprung seed,

or cover your head in the ashes
of consumed dreams
and weep for your lost wings.

A warning

Beware of smiling faces,
of tossed wishes and showered petals,
teeth bared in smiles of complicity
and thoughts only of the coming feast.

They are not for you, child,
they are for the respecting of tradition;
your desires, your pleasure
weigh less than a feather in the balance.

You are a bride not a woman
not even an adult, a child
with no mind of her own,
no right to choose.

Pick a face (they are all the same),
wear it on this day and forever,
painted and moulded like a mask
to cover your fears and your tears.

Short story in Ekphrastic Review

The painting prompt for the Ekphrastic Review challenge was a blue horse painting by Franz Marc. Anyone who knows my admiration for Marc won’t be surprised that I was duly prompted. Lorette asked for short fiction, which is what I wrote. You can read Horse Dreams here as well as all the other entries.


Poem in the Ekphrastic Review

I have a poem up in the latest Ekphrastic challenge. The painting was this Berthe Morisot. Thanks to Alarie Tennille for choosing Weeds.


You can read all of the selected poems here.

This is the second poem I wrote to the prompt.


The name for despair is widow


More is lost than a lover, a father,

a way through the teaming city

built for men,


I lose a shield against misery,

a future for a girl child,

a cushion against cold pavement stone.


River flows golden in the evening sun,

pours over grey slate, colour of pigeons

in the soft light,


and I wish for wings to follow you,

watch the shoulder blades of the child

for their fledging.


Perhaps there will be more,

something of a life to be lived in this golden air,

not simply the dull dragging of the gutter.


The city of men laughs,

bright even beneath the clouds,

full of your absence.

Ekphrastic Review poems

One of my poems, The Poverty of the Affluent, was selected in the bi-weekly challenge at the Ekphrastic Review. The painting was this, Still Life, by Giorgio Morandi (Italy) 1956, which I like very much.

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You can read all the selected poems here

The poem of mine in the review is the second one I wrote to the prompt. Below is the first one, which I think I prefer, though it doesn’t have the social commentary dimension of The Poverty of the Affluent.


Pane e vino


Pane e vino

and a round of cheese

in the end there’s not much more you need


chalk white and linen

the hush of a clean sparse interior

dark green glint of bottle glass


hot air billows over the sill

cool shadows where a cat watches

unblinking and voices murmur low


beneath the beat of the cicadas

and the milky-soft breathing

of a sleeping infant.

La java des petits diables/Lost boys and girls

I have a poem in this edition of Ekphrastic Review, La java des petits diables and its adaptation into English, Lost boys and girls.

The idea came from this painting: Pintura, by Joaquin Torres Garcia (Uruguay) 1928.


You can read mine and the other selected poems here.

My thanks to Lorette for selecting my work and also for giving us such a good subject to work with.

The blue is shrinking

My poem was selected for the Ekphrastic challenge this time. Thank you, Lorette C. Luzajik. You can read all the chosen poems here.

Painting: The Best is Yet to Come, by Lorette C. Luzajic (Canada) 2019


The blue is shrinking, the pale space the space ships see,
unencumbered with lights and the debris of human lives.

Soon the blue swill will swell, grow green with algae,
brightly speckled with pretty plastic tops, lids, bags

and all the gaily strewn paraphernalia we cannot live without.
The ocean groans already and the thin crust we cut like pie,

digging out the best parts, throwing the rest away. Choking,
we might discover too late, is worse than living without.

When the ocean fills with darkness

This is the third of the poems I wrote for the Ekphrastic challenge using this painting by Dale Patterson.

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When the ocean fills with darkness, fish will fly

Into the murky sky on silver wings;

In their tender mouths the seeds of perhaps.


The spring is silent now, no birds to sing,

All fallen, and the deer have gone, though mockers said,

When the ocean fills with darkness fish will fly.


So many flew, their souvenirs all wrapped in gossamer

But in the ports no welcome banners waved, and back they fell

Into the murky sky, on silver wings.


These children, my children, may still look up and see

The dreams go flying by and take up the fading cry

In their tender mouths—the seeds of perhaps.

Nights and hawks

I have a poem in the Ekphrastic Review today, a response to Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. Shame the WP lines aren’t long enough for the formatting…

You can read all the responses here.

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There comes a time, but you have to wait until the hubbub dies, the rolling home

and car doors slamming, radios blaring with final weary laughter, when dark falls.


There’s a time when dark trickles silent except for hollow footsteps and the whoosh

of the espresso machine, brushing our faces with a remembered caress, and we


can imagine the stars. City nights are starless and moonless and each cupful of quiet

has to be dipped from a diminishing stream, a slender trickle where the pigeons sip.


Follow the stray cats to find it, where the kerb bends sharp, always right angles,

into the brief silence that waits for the birds to return with the rumbling dawn.


Café lights glow, turning streets into gullets, swallowing shadows. No moonlight

this, only ersatz, that draws moths with fluttering, papery wings, not hawks,


hawks don’t come here foraging with the pigeons in this delusion. Hawks fly high

and fierce where the night is dark and bottomless, and their sharp, narrow wings are


moon-silvered. Shield your eyes with your hand and look higher than the gully of

darkness, above the rumbling dawn, and you can see them, hanging among the stars.