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.
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.
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.
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.