No image today – ironically (see below) – because of copyright issues. However, if you hit this link, it will take you to the image which inspired the poem, a lithograph by Breugel.
One plays the cornet One considers the violin One looks dementedly At the old mandolin All can read music Though some think, Why bother? We’ll just croon along To the noise from our brothers They are cats having fun Just one’s on the fence There’s also a mouse Looking dreadfully tense Back in the mouse house (A faux music stand) Do those cats even know Lunch is so close to hand? No matter. They’re singing They’re singing, and how – It’s clear those cats know They are the cat’s meow.
The act of creating art inspired by another work of art is known as ekphrasis, from the Greek word meaning ‘description’. One of the most famous examples of ekphrasis is ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ by the Romantic poet John Keats. This poem isn’t that, nor does it aspire to be; it’s just me having a bit of fun.
Using art/poetry/fiction/TV/movies/articles/music, etc., as inspiration is one of my favourite things to do. The umbrella term is ‘intertextuality’ i.e. one text inspires another text.
If you are new to writing poetry, a good way to get the juices flowing is to find an interesting image and make as many notes on it as you can. Jot answers to questions like these: what is happening in the picture? How many characters? How are they related? When is the image set? What about colours/objects/background? What is inside the bag/pocket/box, etc.? Any obvious emotions? What about smells? What are they saying to each other?
You get the idea. Now pick out what interests you from your notes, and just start writing.