Friday, April 15, 2016

ARTSPEAK! 2016: Poem #15 " A Dream of Sheep" & a Visit from J. Patrick Lewis

Hello, and Happy Poetry Friday! Woohooo, we're halfway there!!!
Be sure to visit Michelle at Today's Little Ditty for Roundup. AND... welcome to day 15 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! I'm so pleased to have J. Patrick Lewis as my guest today -- he's written a poem inspired by this piece:

The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau
But first, please visit Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Okay, now for Pat's poem:

The Sleeping Gypsy

Surprised by Moon, but at his ease,
The imperturbable lion sees
A water jar, a mandolin,
The wooden woman in her skin.

He does not put on brute display
His fascination for the prey
That other nights on other dunes
Ruthlessly reddens other moons.

He must be fed but must be full;
No doubt his appetite is dull
From ravaging the wicked part
Of his corrupted lionheart.

Whatever reasons there may be
For this pastoral scenery,
Midnight capitulates to dawn.
The lion lingers . . . and moves on.

- J. Patrick Lewis

As I told Pat: so glad that lion moved on! Could have been an entirely different poem. :) Thank you, Pat, for sharing!

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 -- which was featured yesterday in Paste Magazine as one of 7 Farm-to-Table picture books. Yay!

Here are the poems so far:

"Harvest" after The Last Days of Harvest by Winslow Homer
"Anticipation (in the Garden) after George Moore in the Artist's Garden by Edouard Manet
"Gathering Fruit" after Gathering Fruit by Mary Cassatt
"Bread's Lament" after Boy with Basket of Fruit by an unknown American artist
"After the Fire" after Ruined Farm by Hubert Robert
"Cow at the Gate" after Landscape with Open Gate by Pieter Molijin
"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

Today's piece is inspired by Pat's piece... instead of lion, lamb! Warm Afternoon by Winslow Homer. I guess I am sort of stretching the theme yet again... but that's part of the fun! (And yes, there is a typo in the graphic -- and no time to fix it. Alas. I know my Poetry Friday friends will be forgiving. :)

A Dream of Sheep

Sometimes I think
a sheep

has the life
meant for me:

how untroubled
the days

in the shade
of this old tree.

I like their woolly coats,
the way they bleat

and how they eat
whenever they please.

Yes, I should have been
a sheep.

But then who –
or what –

would have been me?

- Irene Latham 
Listen to the poem on Soundcloud!


  1. What an unusual image, that lion. I love the way Pat moves words along in long, thoughtful sentences that find rhyme without any seeming effort. I'm glad that imperturbable lion moved on, too. And your sheep poem leaves us with such a thoughtful turn! Nice job. No one could replace you!

  2. This is such a cute, whimsical little poem, Irene.

  3. I was quite taken with Pat's poem– that lingering danger that may or may not move on. It reminds me of a recurring nightmare I had as a child that lived in that same place of uncertainty. I love your poem as well, Irene, especially that last line that takes us by surprise and helps us to be grateful... or at least recognize our own small niche in this big universe. Happy Poetry Friday to both of you! xoxo

  4. I love the dreamy feeling and final question in your beautiful poem, Irene! And I enjoyed the connection between this poem and Pat's.
    Excellent to hear that Fresh Delicious was featured in the magazine. Congratulations! As a lover of slow food and poetry, I have more than one reason to get my hands on a copy of your book. I'm off to put in an order request at my local library.

  5. Lee's poem is rather an understated scare, but good at the end, isn't it? I have always wondered about those pastoral scenes with a sheep herder lazing on the grass, sheep grazing peacefully. Is it really such a nice thing? Love your ending, Irene.

  6. Pat's poem is both fully real and dreamlike as well - so well rendered! And I love the pensive nature of yours!

  7. I'm happy Pat's lion did not move on to your lamb... thank you both for these quite different and luscious poems.

  8. The laid back tone of thos poem matches the art perfectly. I think I'd like that sheep life too.

  9. Both of you have that same quiet pause...and yet, so very different!


Your thoughts?