A Study in Poetic Form: Ekphrasis

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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24 thoughts on “A Study in Poetic Form: Ekphrasis

  1. Great description, the poem really fits the picture.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks like you persevered quite nicely. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. you’ve exploited the form so brilliantly with the painting, love the details ..”Pause in movement, in shock or sadness?”..adds to the mystery of the poem…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) May 18, 2015 — 8:24 am

    First you took time to really see the image, then showed us the same detail!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 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

  6. I enjoyed this form and the process you described…quite fascinating

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I really appreciate your feedback ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  7. this is magical. i liked the detailed observations. a great satisfaction enveloped me after reading the last 2 lines

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy you enjoyed this poetic exercise. It was meditative yet tested my patience at times.

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  8. Something tragic happened mid-poem! No wonder her lips are parted in wonder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I studied her, I kept thinking that she looked so lost in thought, so tragic.

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  9. i love this form and you’ve accomplished it beautifully! i especially like your interpretation of a
    “Pause in movement, in shock or sadness?”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love ecphrasis….You have done great!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This was quite wonderful to read, echoing the process you describe in writing it. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very…. descriptive. You did a wonderful job with that challenge, I enjoyed it very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A wonderful exercise to just describe what you see… It let me see it as if was the first time.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is amazing.. quite a difficult and complicated form ๐Ÿ˜€ I could never pulled it off as beautifully as you have ๐Ÿ™‚ Well penned..:D

    Lots of love
    Sanaa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ๐Ÿ˜€ Thank you, Sanaa. Have a beautiful day

      Like

  15. How illuminating..you gave story to her face..and many other i suspect..beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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      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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