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.
The woman with the extra leg stepped ineptly from the train. The op on her had worked, but weirded out her brain. Her eyes were white, her neck was green, her nose a pretty blue: Once she had an even tone, now her skin showed every hue. The purple bag she toted clashed acutely with her hair: An orange-cream confection, which had once been long and fair. The crowd pretended not to notice, but there arose a hum; I pushed my way right through them all to hug my gorgeous Mum. Her arms are square, her fingers fat, her stomach inside out, But without the operation, she’d have suffered, I’ve no doubt. It made her well and I am glad to think it a success; Though how I wish that there had been fewer side-effects.
I love you with The eye of my liver The toe of my crotch The heart of my elbow My mandible stodge My reverse intestine The belly of my knee The rib of my armpit My right capillary The shin bone of my shoulder My pelvic radius You’ve got me so jumbled up inside There can be no end of us Skinny Thin Svelte Or fat I love you I love you I love you And that is simply that
If her guy thought he had sunshine on what was – by his own admission – a cloudy day; and believes May was indoors (say what?); had a swarm of bees on his tail; reckoned his wailing sounded better than the birds in the trees (at least they were outside); and didn’t even have any money or fortune (or grasp of tautology) and no fame to his name (though that was clearly a lie; a little disingenuous, don’t you think?), then I submit his girl was probably better off without him. I know I wouldn’t be tempted.
How does a pope cope with being Pope? I hope he does not smoke dope or mope around or grope the cardinals or lope about, laughing aloud or lashing out – so undignified for he who aspired to lead billions. I do hope he’s nice to his minions.
Does he ever reach the end of his rope and wonder whether to sever the tether? But he can’t resign; he can only die and that’s not a good sign for enjoying the rest of his life. He can’t even marry a wife.
He might shout, Nope! I’m done as pope! I slithered down the slippery slope and believed the hype and now I find I’m not the pope type. I have no time to tarry. Do not be shocked when I elope with a defrocked nun. I’m just so very done.