Friday, April 22, 2016

ARTSPEAK! 2016: Poem #22 "A Dream of Wheat"

Hello, and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Jama's Alphabet Soup, where I am sure there will be some deliciousness waiting... there always is!)

Here at Live Your Poem, it's day 22 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 Radiant Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge Edge to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

I am just back from a whirlwind trip to Texas Library Association (TLA) in Houston. Yes, we braved the rain to talk poetry! I'm so grateful to Boyds Mills Press for sending me to speak on Sylvia Vardell's annual Poetry Roundup panel, along with poets Kwame Alexander, David L. Harrison, K.A. Holt, Steve Swinburne, Janet Wong, & the one and only Amy Ludwig VanDerwater! 

You can see more about this on Twitter: #txla16. I live-tweeted from a MG Fantasy panel -- still thinking about some of the things the panelists said! I promise to share more in May. ONE WEEK TO GO, friends!!

 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:

"Fruit Jar" after Fruit Jar by J. Howard Iams
"Child in the Garden" after The Artist's Garden at Vetheuil by Claude Monet
"Math Lesson (from the Garden)" after Still Life with Lemons and Oranges wit Blue Gloves" by Vincent van Gogh
"Gardening Basics" after The Watering Can/Emblems: the Garden by Roger de La Fresnaye
"Mary in the Garden" after Reading in the Garden by Pompeo Mariani
"This Wheelbarrow" after A Woman Emptying a Wheelbarrow by Camille Pissarro
"A Dream of Sheep" after Warm Afternoon by Winslow Homer
"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
"Triolet for Planting Day" after The Artist's Garden at Eragny by Camille Pissarro

Today's poem is after a piece I adore. I've really enjoyed thinking about it: "Field of Green Wheat" by Vincent van Gogh. I ended up with another "dream" poem (last week was "A Dream of Sheep"). Isn't that interesting? I wanted to be sure and tuck some critters into this world of wheat... this is where I landed:

A Dream of Wheat

From a plain
packet of seeds

comes sun-
sweetened stalks

seasoned by wind
and rain –

birds diving
mice hiding

grasshoppers singing
spiders weaving --

in a sea of wheat
that will someday

become bread
we eat.

- Irene Latham
Listen to the poem on Soundcloud!


  1. I love the rich world you've created all from a packet of seeds. There's so much life in your poem to populate that lush Van Gogh scene. I can almost see the wheat stirring as the critters are busy diving, hiding, singing and weaving. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank YOU for reading, Molly! Happy Poetry Friday!

  2. I love the "grasshoppers singing/spiders weaving," Irene. Your beautiful poem reminds me of a field across the street from my house that is hayed several times each summer. I'm always so sad the next day because the richness of the birds & butterflies is gone. Hmm, maybe I'll have to write about that. Thanks for inspiring me!

    1. Yes, Catherine! Write about that field -- from bounty to bare. Sigh. xo

  3. This sea of wheat is deliciously sensual. What a treat to be in on the secret of your process. Thanks for the Skype visit yesterday. My students were so happy and full of poetry love!

    1. I loved meeting your students, Margaret! They are so so lucky to have you guiding them on the poetry-path. xo

  4. Great photo of great poet folk.
    And Irene, before "A Dream of Wheat" I hadn't thought of life within a
    wheat field.
    The days are winding down (or up) to May...

  5. I like those "sun-sweetened stalks" and your end rhyme. What a treat to spend time with this painting. Glad your trip was a success despite the weather!

  6. Beautiful poem for a beautiful painting. I'm so loving this entire series, Irene. Your sensory details in this poem are so rich and vivid.

  7. I don't believe I've ever seen this painting, Irene, and it is beautiful. I've driven through mid-western states and seen field upon field of it, and he captured it well. You've included all the dream parts, too, all those creatures that must feel as if they're in heaven, little mice fattening up! What a wonderful group you were in at the Texas conference, must have been quite fun!

  8. I'm really enjoying this series of yours, Irene. This is another beauty, making us aware of what's happening 'behind the scenes' of our bread!

  9. Like others, I also was enchanted by the life that lives amongst those sun-sweetened stalks, Irene. Beautiful poem.

  10. A whole world of life in the field, enchanting. We are just one of many species, aren't we?

  11. I love how you have included the weather and all the creatures that might pass through a sea of wheat. Beautiful!

  12. What an exciting mid-week adventure - and how wonderful to have that opportunity!

    As to your poem... it is the 'sweetened' and 'seasoned' that gave it the zest, for me. Such beautiful wording.


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