Monday, April 3, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "What If?"

Hello and Happy National Poetry Month! Here it is, day 3 of ARTSPEAK!: Portraits, my National Poetry Month poem-a- day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: be sure to check out the Doraine's line of our 2017 Progressive Poem over at Dori Reads!

Also: I posted today over at Smack Dab in the Middle about 4 writing craft books that changed my life. Check it out!

And here are the poems so far:

Today I've got a little boy for you -- "Portrait of Camille Roulin" by Vincent van Gogh. I was instantly drawn to the color in this one, and how Camille's gaze is lowered. He doesn't look quite comfortable, does he? When I asked him why, this is what he said:

What If?
- after "Portrait of Camille Roulin" by Vincent van Gogh

What if
the sky
really was

What if
I pressed
the red button
and it opened
a secret

What if
my hat
held a stormy

What if
I wasn't shy
and could
meet your

- Irene Latham


Sometimes I think we misinterpret shy children as rude or unintelligent.

As a shy person, I can tell you that there is great comfort to be found in one's imagination, and this is often a trick we use to get through an uncomfortable situation -- just go someplace else inside our minds!
And it's not that we don't like you, it's just we often want to be invisible, and one way to shut out the world is to not make eye contact. It's not about you at all. Give us time to get comfortable, and we'll be more likely to engage.


  1. Irene, this is stunning! The stormy ocean hat...the rainbow eyes. Beautiful writing. I'm loving each contribution you make.

  2. I love this! Wonderful use of the color from the poem in your imaginative response.

  3. Beautiful imaginings for this shy child. I've often thought there was so much left unsaid in shy children, and sometimes it comes out in other ways. The painting is wonderful, isn't it?

  4. Love this, Irene. Camille's lowered gaze and expression are intriguing, and I like your interpretation of his shyness. I can relate too. :)

  5. The imagery is beautiful in your poem, there're many layers there! I want to learn more about this boy and his story. My daughter is shy, I have a familiarity with this;we need to make more time to listen.


Your thoughts?