Thursday, April 9, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #9 "Boat on a Pond"

Hello, and welcome to day #9 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's piece is "Girl in a Boat with Geese" by Berthe Morisot.

Isn't this a lovely piece for spring? I first considered writing this poem from the geese's perspective... I imagined them taunting the girl in the boat. And then I started thinking about the boat itself. What would the boat have to say? The first lines that came to me were, "I am but wood / in a world of water." And then I went back to the geese, thinking, what if that was their taunt to the boat? But, I don't know, the painting is so joyful... I didn't want to "spoil" it with negativity. So I came back to the boat.

So, obviously, I ended up abandoning that first-thought line. I also ended up cutting another favorite... I had opened the poem with this stanza:

Once a tree,
I am no longer

I love that! It could be the haiku version of this poem! As in....

boat --
a tree no longer 

But it gives away the whole poem, doesn't it? When what I want to do is leave a surprise in there for the reader. The way it stands now, the reader gets to discover that unrootedness with "tree" at the start and the later mention of "wings."

Funny thing: I just realized I've written this title like 3 different ways! I think I like "Boat on a Pond" best. Thank you for reading!  


  1. What a delightful post! I adore that boat having its belly tickled, Irene. And the haiku is a gem. So much in a painting. Wouldn't it be fun to have us all write about the same one someday - a future poetry project! Happy Thursday and congratulations on almost being 1/3 the way through of this beautiful project. xo

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  3. Yes to that idea, Amy! That would be fantastic.

    My elongated bill blares to another canoe
    That skates on this watered playground
    Of mine. “Trespassers aren’t welcome!”
    I honk in protest, frustration churning inside me.
    I wanted one last rippled excursion
    Under sunshine’s warm embrace
    Before migrating on my wings of glory.

    (c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

  4. Divine bliss! I could just go floating on the pond.

  5. Oooh, I love the ripples tickling the boat's belly!

  6. I love the poems you are writing, Irene, but almost more I like hearing your thoughts about the painting, what you see & imagine in it. Lovely point of view today!

  7. My favorite one yet!! But I still want to hear a little pessimistic version from the geese!


Your thoughts?