Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was one of my favourite forms, an ekphrastic poem. You can use all kinds of art for the poem’s frame — I’ve used music, sculpture, obviously paintings, even dance. The idea is to use one form of art to spark another. And it always works. I mean it: someone else has already done all the hard work!
Here’s the NaPoWriMo prompt:
Today, I challenge you to write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art. But I’d also like to challenge you to base your poem on a very particular kind of art – the marginalia of medieval manuscripts. Here you’ll find some characteristic images of rabbits hunting wolves, people sitting on nests of eggs, dogs studiously reading books, and birds wearing snail shells.
And the prompt is absolutely right: the illuminations (one of my favourite kinds of art!) are amazing. Here’s the resulting poem, sans title, as I can’t figure one out. The illumination is today’s post art.
In the upper right corner, a birdwoman perches
On a vine with drooping red & gold leaves
She is watching a small elf – perhaps a hobbit?
His ears are pointed, but his his body ends
In two clawed paws, and a tail that becomes
Another part of the vine. What is it with mediæval vines
That they take over human bodies? Or perhaps
The little elf and the coiffed woman are tired
Of the demands of bodies, and have relinquished
Them to the sinuous wrapping of the purple vine
Wrapping the border of an illuminated manuscript
Where a royal woman holds a winged pig
Like an infant prince, and the head of a king is impaled
On the ultramarine curve of an historic doodle
Another royal woman dallies with a dragon
Her body blooming from the red blossom of the same vine.
All of them connected blooms. And Except for two lovebirds
One nestled safely into the roseate throat of the other.
Each of them content in their twined lives. Like a vine.