Saturday, April 11, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #11 "Before the Race"

Hello, and welcome to day #11 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 

Big THANKS to everyone who has been reading and commenting on these poems! I can feel my enthusiasm starting to wane (it's a long month!), and your encouragement really helps! Mwah!

Today's piece is "Riders on the Beach at Dieppe" by Rene Pierre Charles Princeteau.

A long time horse lover, I have vivid memories of my father taking me to the races when we I was wee and we lived in New Orleans. I loveloveloved the Black Stallion books (and the film) -- maybe that's why I was drawn to this picture? Also, my sister and I had dreams: I would train a horse and she would be the jockey and we would win the Kentucky Derby! 

I am particularly drawn to the horse in the middle. I knew right away I wanted to somehow give that horse a voice. (Hey, I'm a middle child... I often feel for the one in the middle!) Although I did get distracted for a little while thinking what I might do in the voice of the beach.... but ultimately decided the middle horse had my heart. (I'll save the voice of the beach for some other poem. :)


  1. Irene, I love how your words capture the latent motion in Princteau's painting. A perfect pairing!

  2. What a beautiful image! I would like to see it in person. I can imagine your poem would be great as a poem-starter with kids -- they could relate to the difficulty of fighting your urges for a greater good.

  3. I rode for lots of years, and you've captured the feeling beautifully, Irene. My horse hated being 'behind' another one, & she wasn't even a racing horse! Love the 'prance &paw, snort & shake"-such energy in that stanza!

  4. Oh, I remember this feeling - just seeing it in the horses as my children rode. And waiting...again! This time with a big goal and big dream. I love seeing your themes emerge and thank you for the reminder to think about this as I am doing so over with my project too. Beautiful pairing. xo

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    We cloppity clop
    On faded tufts of natures
    Receding hairline.

    There was a verbal
    Kerfuffle earlier on,
    Our new friend, silence.

    Whispers of wind tries
    In vain to encourage us
    To apologize.

    Stubbornness remains
    Victorious until I
    Let out a whinny.

    Each sibling chuckles
    At my inside joke –
    Tension drifts away.

    (c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.


Your thoughts?