Thursday, April 7, 2016

ARTSPEAK! 2016: Poem #7 "Courtship (According to the Cat)"

Hello, and welcome to day 7 of my National Poetry Month poem-a-day-project ARTSPEAK! in which I respond to images found in the online collections at the National Gallery of ArtPlease join me, if you feel so inspired! Also, please visit Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass to see how our Progressive poem is progressing!

I'm still reveling in the wonderment that is Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival in Hattiesburg, MS... I can't wait to tell you about it! Very soon, I promise! I did live-tweet Lois Lowry's talk yesterday, and I will be doing the same for Jacqueline Woodson and Joyce Sidman (!) today.

Meanwhile, it's also Spiritual Journey Thursday. Today we are sharing posts about Bobbie Ann Taylor's One Little Word MERCIFUL. It's a beautiful word isn't it? I want to spend more time with it, but right now the thing I'd like to share is how it brings me straightaway to these words of wisdom from my mother:

And now, back to ARTSPEAK! This year's theme is "Plant. Grow Eat." It was inspired by the release of my latest book FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmers' Market. Here are the poems so far:

"Courage" after Planting Corn by Stanley Mazur
"Orchard Barber Shop" after Gardener Pruning a Tree by Jacques Callot
"Gardener's Companion" after The Watering Can by Georges Seurat

Today's poem is another love poem... and it's kind of fitting, as today marks 26 years since me and Paul's first date. It was a blind date, actually, and a whirlwind courtship followed... we married almost exactly a year later. So when I saw "Rustic Courtship (in the Garden)" by Winslow Homer, I knew it was the piece I wanted to write about. But courtship poems have been done and done and done... how could I bring an element of surprise to this subject? Change perspective, of course! Read on...

Courtship (According to the Cat)

He comes
tucked in those suspenders,

that pitchfork –

my cue to slink away.

They never say
anything interesting anyway.

But how his face blooms –

as if she is sun
and rain
and soil.

Not once has he
noticed me.

When he is there,
she forgets my name.

- Irene Latham


  1. Beautiful. I love the perspective. You brought newness!

  2. "Err on the side of love." It doesn't get more merciful than that, does it? Wise mother; wise daughter! Thank you so much for honoring my OLW with that goose-bump manufacturing quote. So like Jesus' merciful call from the cross, "Father, forgive them; they know not what they do." Unlike Jesus and your mother, I am too quick to believe the worse about people's intentions; that they know exactly what they are doing when they are offensive. Hardly a merciful attitude! Thank you for the challenge-reminder that I need to do the opposite: to assume the best (as I would like people to assume the best about me). Thank you! God bless you. I appreciate your incorporating your merciful reflection into an already poetry-packed post! Thank you!

  3. I love it. You've certainly captured the "cattitude" well!


Your thoughts?