Games the fairy folk play

The Ekphrastic Review’s prompt this last fortnight was one that appealed to me. Not so much the painting, but what it suggested, which is the aim of ekphrasis after all.

One of my poems was selected, and it won’t come as a big surprise to learn that Kerfe also has a poem featured. You can read them both here.


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.

Screenshot 2020-07-31 at 14.10.05

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.