Monday, April 25, 2016

ARTSPEAK! 2016: Poem #25 "Let Us Now Praise Leafy Things"

Hello, and welcome to day 25 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 Mark at Jackett Writes 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:

"Just Like the Garden" after On the Fence by Winslow Homer
"What Grapes Say" after Plate by Dorothy Posten
"A Dream of Wheat" after Field of Green Wheat by Vincent van Gogh
"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 inspired a piece I adore  -- "The Gardener- Old Peasant with Cabbage" by Camille Pissaro. The peasant reminds me of my grandfather, who loved his garden -- and my grandmother. Right away I knew I wanted this to be a love poem. I struggled a bit with the ending -- not sure I've got it quite right, but I do love the "we" in the poem and the picture I have in my head of these "old goats."

Let Us Now Praise Leafy Things

We'll trim away
the browning leaves,
until all that's left
is supple green.

Well flavor it
with a flick of pepper,
add shiny tomatoes,
cucumber rounds,
and festive bell pepper.

Finally, a splash
of flavored oil
and we'll graze together –
two old goats who know
each moment,
each bite,
must be savored.


  1. Oh, Irene, I love this! I clicked on it thinking it would be about trees. But I also love gardens and growing things. We always had a huge backyard garden growing up. Now, the best I can muster are tomatoes in containers on the driveway.


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