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.
Do please let me know if you have a go.
I never feel that ought I write
is good enough for publication.
Instead, I dream each night
that I’m in print in all the nations.
A poet can dream, of course,
when the truth is mere blight.
Though it surely would be better
to sit my backside down and write.
How you behave
will one day
bite your butt
(or kiss it).
There’s one benefit to body fat
(though one is not enough)
Your stomach skin
Is stretched so thin
There’s no belly button fluff
He is green around the gills;
He is floating on his side.
You can see that he is ill;
You assume that he has died.
An ordinary mistake
Goldfish owners often make.
He can be resuscitated:
He is merely constipated.
A garden pea, minus shell
Rescues him from goldfish hell.
Soon, he’s swimming round the bowl,
Can’t recall his bunged-up hole.
Little fishy’s full of beans.
Moral: always eat your greens.
Is there any other kind?
Three days of playing rugby
From toe to head I ache
Muscles sore ‘cause they’ve yet to
Sometimes, my kids accidentally write my poems for me.
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.
What he lacks in style he has in chatter.
He’ll play the field; his seed he’ll scatter.
At your table he’ll be glad to sup.
Watch out he doesn’t knock you up.
The Metro Newspaper (free to commuters) has a section devoted to passengers sending messages to other passengers, in the hopes of finding true love. Or true lust, as the case may be. https://metro.co.uk/rush-hour-crush/
This poem was inspired by the following message:
To handsome guy with the golden retriever who got off at West Brompton. Everyone was stroking your dog and all I wanted to do was stroke you. Fancy a drink? The Girl In Black, London
The passengers stroked your dog.
All I wanted to do was stroke you
in places that shouldn’t be shown on the train.
What’s a horny girl to do?
Being a healthy hetero,
I’ll write it in the Met-r-o.