Red orbit circling tight against light and dark
Dark shadows cover alabaster like a hood
Interrupted by oval skin and white reflection of tiny moons
White clouds offset gentle and innocent surface
Piercing oblivion travel down full slope
Pause in movement, in shock or sadness?
Partially hidden in midnight blue warmth
Behind gentle orbit, faded towers empty
Winding eyes clash with blue rope ending
In crude echo of human form

Painting is titled “Girl in the Red Hat” by Johaness Vermeer

This morning I was inspired by a poetry form called ekphrasis. The Rattling Bones introduced me to the form, referring to in as “playing detective.” Sounds simple, right?

Turns out that it was anything but simple. It was a process of patience, observation, free association and relaxation. The exercise challenged me to slow down and digest small pieces of an image and spend time with each part instead of the whole.

Are you interested in trying it? This challenge is part of a larger study on poetry on Rattling Bones. Go check it out, you may surprise yourself 🙂


24 thoughts on “A Study in Poetic Form: Ekphrasis

  1. I lie Vermeer’s paintings and particularly the one you chose. I like that ‘blue warmth’ you mention. Thank you for the information on the form. It looks fascinating but not easy. You did well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You did a great job with the poem! I can see how it could be difficult and yes, it does require you to step back from the whole and view smaller bits of the work in question. That’s why I call it playing detective because a detective doesn’t just view the entire scene, but takes it apart bit by bit to create the whole scenario. I am so glad you tried this! I love seeing what others come up with using something I’ve worked on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just started writing again after taking a twelve year hiatus. There is a lot to learn and it is an exercise in patience for me. I was excited to see your section on Teaching Poetry. I will have to check out more of these exercises 🙂


      1. I am so happy that you came back to poetry! It is so fulfilling! Yes, please do look at the other exercises… they may have helped you with this one.

        Liked by 1 person

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