Thursday, April 16, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #16 "Self-Portrait as a Country Road"

Hello, and welcome to day #16 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? 

Today, and for the next few days, I am with my father in the windy prairie-lands of North Dakota (where he lives). It's a long road from Alabama to North Dakota.

Which is why today's piece is "The Road" by Edgar Degas.

Another etching! Isn't there something so beautiful about roads like this one? Maybe it's the country girl in me, the wanderer, the hermit. But I look at this picture and I want to be inside it. Which is how I came to my poem... I asked, what does the piece say.... about me?

Be sure to visit Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town to see what our Progressive Poem's mermaid-girl is staring at!


  1. "yet known by a dozen
    different names."

    This is the truth of such roads - truth of my road here home. Thank you, Irene. Your poem matches excactly a photograph I took on my drive to Vermont this week - so much possibility and quiet and thoughtfulness in such a road. I hope that you have a beautiful and love-filled visit with your dad.
    xo, a.

    1. Thank you, Amy. To think every road, some human had to MAKE. Humans and nature... gets me every time. xo

  2. I LOVE your self-portrait poems. And this one is wonderful.

    1. Thank you, Ruth! It's an interesting thing to write a self-portrait. I wonder what I've left out (like Rockwell with his missing glasses!). Thanks for reading! xo

  3. First of all, I love the title of your poem. Secondly, "A place for those/who can't sing/to sing." Who wouldn't want to be that kind of road? *happy sigh*

  4. " ... Come
    Walk a while with me."
    I love the power of this four letter word - come. It reminds me of "Summons" by Robert Francis and "The Pasture" by Robert Frost.
    I love the call of a crooked road, must be the country girl in me too. And always memories of rabbits in the headlights as we wound our way over dirt roads to Granny's house in the country!

  5. I love those country roads too -- your poem speaks of such possibility, the freedom to wander. The last line is an invitation to trust, take a chance to see where the road may lead. Wonderful poem, Irene. :)

    Kicking cracked soil,
    Shuffling along to
    Rhythmic swirls of dusty
    Winds, I gaze at the
    Milky coated sky –
    Wishing for a friend.

    (c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

  7. Hi Irene, I saw this link you left Carol today. I thought I'd come by and see another self-portrait poem of yours.

    This poem makes me resonate again. Aren't we trying to understand ourselves? To love ourselves? I can think of no better way to imagine myself than as a road, quiet, secret but welcoming. This feels so much richer to me because it's connected to your dad, as Tangerine is, too. Our parents are part of us, no matter how difficult that can be. I envy those who have an unending, rose-lined road that connects them to their parents. Mine is more of a wandering road through mountains, into wilderness, past thorn bushes and over washouts. Yet, the lilacs are blooming. And lots of voices are singing hymns.


Your thoughts?