Neil Hester

All poems © Neil Hester unless otherwritten

Location: North Carolina, United States

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Painting Poems

Painting poems for paintings... an interesting concept, to be sure. The combination of one art with another is a frequent and often successful endeavor; music in particular is frequently combined with films and dance. Another fine example is the combination of illustrations and books (which is a particularly evident technique in children's literature). Artists create paintings depicting characters or events in literature, and the opposite is also true; poets write verse about paintings. The concept has intrigued me as of late, and I recently made my first attempt. First, however, here is an example, courtesy of Jessica Schneider:


Wild Poppies


A beautiful painting with a lovely poem to accompany it: give and take, right? The last four lines have power behind them, and the poem as a whole frames the painting in a way that no material border can match. Now, my first attempt; painting first (shame on anyone who doesn't look at the painting first), then poem:


Village Children
               ~John Singer Sargent

The drear of the day settles far
Into her black and lovely gaze,
Deeper than the running streets around her
That almost walk still in their constant march.
Lost next to her, a little drifter
Is somewhere else, wonderful
And stars away. She cannot blink, in fear
Of consuming her grand and dear escape.
Silent and warm, the village is next
To their plain and precious charm.

By Neil Hester


I think I probably spent 10 minutes looking at the painting before beginning to write, and several minutes on it during the process of writing. Although my judgment (particularly self-) has a tendency to be a little off, I think this a strong poem, especially for a first attempt at interpreting a painting. A couple notes: firstly, line two: not a cliche, since the gaze is black and lovely, not the eyes. Also, it's a rare description to give to a child. "Walk still" was originally "stand still", but the music is better with "walk", the term less cliched, and the contrasts ("running", "walk", "march") more interesting.

LAEvaside: Firstly, "Village Children" is also my profile image, in case you didn't notice. Secondly, I got counted off on a paper in English for using the word "firstly". Maybe I'll use "firstly" in every paper I write for the remainder of the year, then bring her a dictionary on the last day; am I not allowed to use words my teacher doesn't know? [/laevaside]

Take care 'til next time,



Blogger SempreArioso said...

Hmm . . . I haven't thought of writing poetry to accompany a painting. Not that I haven't seen it before. It's a very nice poem, focusing on the attributes that the artist wants you to take notice of.

And who do you have for English? Don't wait 'til the last day to show her . . . unless you're doing it not for the grades, but for the satisfaction of proving her wrong. =^ ^= If that's the case, then, by all means, go right ahead. ^ ^

5:10 PM  
Blogger LAEvanesce said...

Oh, I'm not sure when I'll place the bomb on her... we'll just have to see. I'll at least let her count points off of 2-3 more essays, maybe more. I'm not worried about my grades, really; they're fine ^^

9:04 PM  
Blogger SempreArioso said...

*shrug* Okay then. You go ahead and do that. I'm sure your grades aren't suffering much.
=^ ^=

9:07 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home