Saturday, April 9, 2016

ARTSPEAK! 2016: Poem #9 "Cow at the Gate"

Welcome to day 9 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! 

But first, please visit Margaret at Reflections on the Teche to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

This year's ARTSPEAK! 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:

"I Am the Plate" after Still Life with Milk Jug and Fruit by Paul Cezanne
"Courtship (According to the Cat)" by Winslow Homer
"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
"Triolet for Planting Day" after The Artist's Garden at Eragny by Camille Pissarro

Today's piece Landscape with Open Gate by Pieter Moijin is certainly rural, and I am certain there is a garden/farm just out of the frame. And cows. There are definitely cows! When writing poems inspired by art, it often helps me to look beyond the frame... this is a way to bring something unexpected to the poem, to enrich the experience of the painting. Another question to ask: who (or what) is seeing this image? Right away, that gave me the eyes of a cow.

Cow at the Gate

Cow knows
a closed gate
means graze,
its early –
or late.

An open gate
Hurry now,
pick up the pace!
The world


  1. Yes, hooray for gates. But I do like to graze and sleep, too. Nice.

  2. Irene, this poem is really inviting when paired with the painting. While in Lancaster, PA this fall we stayed in a beautiful 1930's home that was across from a cow farm. Each morning I watched the cows come to the side of the fence. Your image poem reminded me of this.


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